Interview with Mom’s Choice Award-Winner Dr. Lory Dori

Lory Dori MCA Interview Series Featured image

Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.

Welcome, Mom’s Choice Awards readers, to another illuminating interview with a very special MCA honoree! Today, we’re talking to Lory Dori, Ph.D., who developed Say&See ABC. This innovative game works on the learn-through-play basis, helping preschoolers and kindergarteners establish letter-sound recognition and set the stage to acquire additional literacy skills.

MCA: Lory, it’s so good to have you with us today. Please tell us about yourself.

Hey there! I am Lory, a shy games creator that usually hides behind the pseudonym q.riousllama. Over the past two years, I have collaborated with Who’s Playing? and together we have developed three awesome games, of which Say&See ABC was the first to be published.

MCA: What needs were you trying to fill when you created Say&See ABC?

We were attentive to teachers and homeschooling educators and tried to fill their need for active-learning resources.

We also made sure to cater to the needs of parents who wish to foster literacy and promote their child’s reading readiness. The desire of parents to give their children an upper hand over their peers often results in excessive purchases of ABC games and toys. We offer them a comprehensive solution that contains everything they need in a single box.

Above all, our top priority was to meet the needs of children to learn by themselves rather than being taught: by providing them a playful gate to the alphabet, one that engages all their senses, allows them to develop a range of skills, and acquire meaningful knowledge.

MCA: Please tell us about the product’s unique features.

We asked ourselves what it means to know the alphabet, and then we put our answers into the kit box:

  • A puzzle game to reveal the letter shape by matching four objects that start with the same sound.
  • A Funbook full of activities to practice letter sound recognition, discover the lowercase letters, and construct CVC words.
  • Reusable TraceCards to learn and practice handwriting.

We designed the game to invite children to explore the alphabet by themselves, where all they need to know in advance is how to name daily objects. Then, they can progress almost independently through all the milestones of pre-literacy.

There are a few obstacles on the way. For instance, there are letters with similar sounds as well as completely different sounds for a single letter. To ease comprehension and to minimize adults’ assistance, we divided letters of similar sounds into different groups. Moreover C, G, and U are first introduced in their soft/long versions to help associate their names with their sounds.

Indeed, we ended up with a kit of 29 letters instead of 26, all divided into groups that entirely ignore the alphabetic order. These features are unique yet firmly anchored in our educational approach, as explained in more detail in the Who’s Playing? blog.

MCA: That’s a fascinating approach. Why did you choose a non-standard way of teaching something as standard as the ABCs?

We believe that skills earn you the knowledge, not vice versa! The kit suggests various ways to enhance children’s motor, sensory and cognitive skills and to acquire new ones. Applying these skills, children use their natural curiosity as the engine of their exploration and gain a deep understanding of what they have learned. They own what they have discovered, even if (or particularly if) they made some mistakes.

This is a thrilling and rewarding experience: Not only will they learn the ABCs, but they will also gain confidence in their learning abilities. The non-self-correcting puzzle game demonstrates it: Watch the children repeatedly reorganize the four pieces until they correctly form a letter shape. Through play, they improve their ability to tell if the letter shape is right or wrong, regardless of any prior knowledge  (or its absence) of the letter.

MCA: Tell us about the importance of Say&See ABC for children ranging in age from toddlers to preschool.

It is a great companion for children in that age range. It is easily adjusted to the individual level and needs and provides excellent preparation for the first year at school. On top of the literacy skills, children will:

  • strengthen their communication and reasoning abilities
  • improve their fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and use writing tools
  • gain confidence in their learning abilities and, most of all, enjoy!

You see, while for parents learning is the goal, for children, learning is just the by-product of the play. Say&See ABC offers them exactly that! The more they play, the more they learn, and the more they enjoy, the more they remember.

MCA: Where can this game be used best? And what kind of response has it generated?

We appreciate the thorough reviews we receive from homeschooling educators. They highly value Say&See ABC as a learning tool and outline its benefits to their students and themselves. Moreover, at the 2023 International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany—the largest international trade fair for toys and games—the kit attracted considerable attention from publishers and educational game companies from non-native English-speaking countries.

We are grateful that parents warmly embrace the kit. We enjoy reading about the experiences of their children with it. They share their satisfaction from the long hours the children are immersed in play. They proudly report how fast their little ones learn the alphabet. Parents (and occasionally grandparents) send emotional reviews, describing brothers and sisters playing together despite the age and knowledge differences.

This feedback is invaluable to us! It feels great to know that a project we put all our hearts into meets the needs of those we had in mind when we planned it.

MCA: What is next for your product line?

Say&See ABC is the first in a series of kits focused on core subjects. The following learn-through-play kit, Say&See Geometry, has already been enthusiastically tested by children and adults. It has received positive feedback from educators and industry professionals at games and toy exhibitions, so stay tuned for its release!

MCA: Your products are remarkable, Lory—no wonder they are so enthusiastically received. We’ll be keeping a lookout for new and upcoming games and we wish you all the best!

You can learn more about Dr. Lory Dori and her award-winning product, Say&See ABC by visiting her MCA Shop pages.

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4 Comments on “Interview with Mom’s Choice Award-Winner Dr. Lory Dori”

  1. I actually used these when my daughter was four and she’s eight now. She excellent at reading , spelling and word recognition. Great thing to encourage them to learn !

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