The Story of uKloo
Hi, I’m Doreen, the mom who created uKloo. It was conceived in hopes of helping my eldest son, Max learn to read. Like many parents, I was challenged with a very reluctant reader. As a young mother, I followed expert advice and started reading to Max when he was an infant. As a result he loved being read to…but was not interested in learning to read for himself. Max was seven years old, behind in school and a struggling reader.
When it was time for reading homework Max would hide in the tub, in a closet, under his bed… in the laundry room… anything to avoid sitting still with a book! Traditional teaching methods were met with tears. So, I called on my experience as a Visual Arts teacher to solve the problem in a creative and engaging way. Since he was hiding when it was time to read…perhaps turning the tables and hiding the reading would work. And, it did! He so enjoyed running around the house collecting clues that he started to build his reading skills without even realizing it! Max’s reading confidence grew as he embraced the idea of reading as a fun activity. His younger brother, who also avoided reading homework, soon followed suit. The word got out and their friends would come over and request the game!
The very next year, at the age of eight, Max was reading novels…and announced to our family that “Watership Down” was one of the best stories ever written. His reading never stopped and he continues his love of books today as an English Literature major at university.
The idea of producing uKloo as an educational game for young readers was always in the back of my mind. When my photo business slowed due to the economic downturn, I decided that maybe it was time to give it a go! When Jackson, my 17 year old son saw me revisiting the clue cards. He remembered the significance of his experience, offered to help and began illustrating the pictures for the Picture Helper Poster.
I have now taken a giant leap into an amazing new industry! The ride has been exciting and terrifying. I am grateful for all of the awards and industry recognition that uKloo has received. But even more, I am humbled by all of the positive emails and comments received from parents, language therapists, on line reviewers and, most of all the kids who love to play the game.
I am very grateful to my family and to all the teachers, parents, kids and helpful strangers on the street who have helped in the journey of creating uKloo Kids Inc. as a company producing educational games to help kids learn to read.
And of course, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many retailers willing to support a new independent game on their store shelves!Doreen Dotto Chief Executive Mom/President uKloo Kids Inc. Toronto, Ontario