The Inside Track to Reading Success

Model Vocabulary, words that represent vowel rules & letter/sound patterns, is well recognized as a key to early success in reading. As a beginning reader learns phonics, it is important for him or her to have model words that represent various rules and patterns. Trail Blazers (model words) is an excellent game to play in partnership with the Word Busters games (phonics) to ensure early reading success.


Trail Blazers is a challenging game full of suspense for 2 to 4 players. It can be a simple game for beginners or an absorbing strategy game for advanced players.

The unique Trail Blazers playing boards contain model words needed for developing skill in unlocking words. Each playing board allows each player the freedom to learn in his or her own personal ways while providing good reason to master each board as quickly as possible.



  • Four playing BOARDS are available containing model word territories (spaces).

  • Three DICE for determining moves.

  • Four MOVERS (Any objects will do.)

  • Four sets of MARKERS for claiming territories. (These could be chips, coins, buttons, etc.) Each playerís markers need to be distinguished from the markers of the other players.



Choose a playing board containing the model words players need to master. This means automatic, complete mastery. If a player has to think about the word, it is not yet completely mastered at the automatic level. A reader can think about only so much during the reading process. Too much time thinking about how to sound out a word interferes with comprehension and enjoyment.

Each player chooses a mover and a group of markers and places his or her mover anywhere on the track.

Player throwing the largest number on the first toss of the dice begins. Each player on each turn may choose the direction he or she will move after throwing the three dice.

A player may claim the territory on which he or she lands by reading the model word correctly. If successful, player places one of his or her markers on the space. It becomes his or her territory. From now on anyone else landing on it is out of the game.

Arguments over whether a player has read the word correctly is to be settled by majority vote or by using an agreed-on authority Ė perhaps an adult, older sibling, or dictionary.

For a player just beginning to learn to read, the others may allow him or her to claim a territory by merely repeating correctly the necessary word after another player says it.

As play goes on and more territories are claimed, the board becomes increasingly dangerous. Tension rises with each roll of the dice. Players realize they will be out if they land on another personís territory. Of course, if they canít go one direction without landing on claimed territory, they may try the other direction. But in every case, they must always obey the dice and move that many spaces.

In moving, players may cross a territory claimed by another, but cannot land there. Players may land on their own territories.

When a player goes out, his or her territory markers will remain to make life difficult for the others.



Trail Blazers Game Board #1

Basic and Short Vowel Words.


Trail Blazers Game Board #2

Basic and Long Vowel Words.


Trail Blazers Game Board #3

Adding Blends & Digraphs.


Trail Blazers Game Board #4

Adding r controlled vowel Sounds & Other Combinations.
(An r often controls the vowel sound, so is underlined. You hardly hear the vowel sound because the r takes over immediately.)