The Magic Stories

The Magic Stories is a set of six delightful stories appropriate for 2nd to 4th grade reading levels. Each of the stories has a moral and tells a great tale. From the story of Ping Ho's family, whose daughter finds a bag with a magic hole that changes her family’s life; to Tom, who learns the value of hard work; to Alfred, who just can’t stop eating hot dogs; and Patty, who was given goblin boots by mistake, each of these stories will charm your child. (click: story synopses)

Each story comes with its own set of Naughty Forty™ words - these are the more challenging words that your child will encounter  when reading the story.  You can review these words with your child before they read the story; this ensures that your child will have a positive reading experience, without becoming frustrated. The four sets of worksheets per storybook that also come with the program are reading comprehension and creative writing exercises. The worksheets cover a range of language art skills, including recall and comprehension, cognition, and creative writing. They are: Maze, Finish The Sentence, Imagine, and Finish The Story.

The stories are optimized for an IPAD or computer screen, but can also be printed out on standard 8.5" x11” paper or cardstock, and are in black and white, and can be printed double sided. Each book is around 20 pages long and your child can color in the drawings and sketches that accompany each story. The Naughty Forty™ cards can be printed out on 4 sheets of paper or card and cut into flash cards. The Worksheets are each one page, and there are four per book.

The Magic Stories™ is a follow up to The Reading Game, though your child does not have to have used The Reading Game to enjoy this program.

Books can easily be printed on colored paper, single or double-sided.

The Magic Stories™
Parent - Teacher Guide

Age Range: Grade Levels 2/3

This collection of stories, together with associated support material, was designed as a follow-up to The Reading Game (learn more at It assumes the ability to read simple sight words based on familiar phonetic patterns and word family association. There are some words that just don't fit the rules or are just more difficult and must be learned individually. Because of this, we call them the Naughty Forty™. Each of the six stories has it’s own set of Naughty Forty™ flashcards and a Naughty Forty™ word list at the back of each book. Test your student’s knowledge of the more difficult words they will encounter in the story with the Naughty Forty™ flashcards before they are handed the book. Each flash card has the “naughty” word in bold and a sentence in which it appears underneath.

Some children will pick these up quickly, others will need to practice with the flashcards before being handed the accompanying storybook to ensure they are comfortable with the words they will encounter. Each book assumes knowledge of the previous book’s Naughty Forty™ words, so please teach in book order, from one to six. The goal of The Magic Stories™ is to continue to build confidence and enjoyment in the reading process. Every child should be able to read the stories without frustration, as they should be able to work out every word in the story through phonetics, word families and the Naughty Forty™ flashcards.

To test the student’s comprehension, there are reading and writing comprehension exercise worksheets. These include a maze that students work through by determining which in a series of statements about the story is True or False, as well as writing exercises that stretch the student’s ability to imagine different endings, different stages in the character’s life, and so on. Altogether, there are four reading and writing comprehension worksheets for the child to complete after each story, Maze, Finish the Sentence, Imagine, & Finish the Story.

Buy the SET of 6 books

A Note From the Author

The Magic Stories™ reading program will be most suitable for 2nd to 4th graders. It may also be helpful in reading centers and special education classrooms for struggling readers. As with The Reading Game, (which is intended for K and 1st) this set of storybooks, flashcards and worksheets was developed to continue to build confidence and enjoyment in the reading process, with an emphasis on comprehension. The goal is for every child to read these storybooks successfully, independently, and without frustration.

A deck of printable flashcards accompanies each of the six storybooks. Each deck contains 40 words, and a sentence in which that word is used. We call these words “The Naughty Forty™” as these are some of the more difficult words the child will encounter when reading the accompanying storybook. A review of the “Naughty Forty™” words should be shared with your child before he/she independently reads the story to ensure that all the words are known and understood once the reading begins.

The Magic Stories™ are supported by four individual student reading and writing comprehension exercises, per book, in the form of worksheets. These are: Maze, Finish The Sentence, Imagine, and Finish The Story. There is one set for each of the six storybooks. These are to be completed by the student once the storybook has been read. For those interested in tracking your child's progress there are free running record sheets, and for classroom use there are class-recording sheets. As an educational publisher, we are committed to measuring and evaluating our products before they come to market, and parent and teacher feedback in the development phase of The Magic Stories™ was crucial. Thank you to all those who participated in our field study.

Additional Free Resources


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*Shown on colored paper.  iPad not included.


Your purchase includes the six Magic Stories™, complete with printable Card Decks and four Reading, Writing and Comprehension Worksheets for each books.  Free Parent - Teacher resources can be downloaded, below.

Buy the whole SET: $16.95

Also available individually, for $3.95 each.  Click the links below to add them to your cart. Each book comes with its set of Naughty Forty™ cards and Worksheets.

  1. The Magic Hole
  2. The Magic Ax
  3. The Magic Joke
  4. The Magic Hotdog
  5. The Magic Boots
  6. The Magic Box

Free Resources

The Magic Stories™ INSTRUCTIONS

Answer Key for Exercises 1 & 2 for all Six Books (12 pages)

Pre/Post Naughty Forty™ Flashcards Sight Word Assessment Worksheet

Print the pre and post sight word assessment and running record worksheets for the books. Have your child read through the pre and post sight word assessment list first and check off any words they know before beginning. This is a great tool for evaluating your child's vocabulary acquisition growth as you review this worksheet in the same manner after completing the book and accompanying exercises.

The Complete Naughty Forty™ Word List for All 6 Sets

Pre/Post Word Assessment Worksheet for Book 1, The Magic Hole
Pre/Post Word Assessment Worksheet for Book 2, The Magic Ax
Pre/Post Word Assessment Worksheet for Book 3, The Magic Joke
Pre/Post Word Assessment Worksheet for Book 4, The Magic Hotdog
Pre/Post Word Assessment Worksheet for Book 5, The Magic Boots
Pre/Post Word Assessment Worksheet for Book 6, The Magic Box

Running Record Sheets

For each of the six stories in the series, we have extracted a 100 word section that you can have the student read aloud to assess his/her overall reading fluency for each book.

Running Record Sheet for Book 1, The Magic Hole
Running Record Sheet for Book 2, The Magic Ax
Running Record Sheet for Book 3, The Magic Joke
Running Record Sheet for Book 4, The Magic Hotdog
Running Record Sheet for Book 5, The Magic Boots
Running Record Sheet for Book 6, The Magic Box

Classroom Recording Sheets

The Class Recording Sheets are to help keep track of a group of students and their progress through the series. For each story, there are 4 boxes, to be checked or graded as each worksheet is completed, as well as a “RR” column to denote the Running Record score.

Class Recording Sheets, Books 1-6

Download all Free Resources (zip file)

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*iPad not included.

Story Synopses!

#1 The Magic Hole

Ping Ho, his wife Nan, and their little girl Kim lived in poverty and just barely had enough fish and rice to live on. One day a magic hole appeared in their lives. It consumed their rice, their money, and ultimately the lake Ping Ho fished. How did this happen, they never knew. But thanks to the magic hole, the lake bed was perfect for growing rice. So Ping Ho became a rice farmer and began to grow rich, all thinks to the magic hole.

#2 The Magic Ax

A woodcutter lived in the woods with his wife and six children. One day the oldest son Tom had to go help with the wood cutting. But with so many interesting things to see and do in the woods, he got easily distracted and cut hardly any wood.  Then one day his woodcutter father broke his leg and could no longer work.  A tiny man appeared to Tom and offered him a magic ax that did all of the work, filling the cart to overflowing. Tom was thrilled. After many weeks of this magic ax doing all of the work, his father was ready to return to work. Tom grew scared because he didn’t want the magic ax to be found. So he suggested that father take the wood into town instead of helping chop the wood. But when Tom went to the woods, the magic ax no longer had any magic. In a panic Tom set out to chop the wood, and he filled the cart before nightfall. With much work and diligence, Tom realized he didn’t need the magic ax, afterall.

#3 The Magic Joke

The funniest joke of all time was shared in the kingdom. It was so funny that once you heard the joke you couldn’t stop laughing. Since there was a war between the kingdoms, the princess thought to share the joke with he enemy. What a great way to win the war between the kingdoms!

So the joke was shared with the enemy and eventually all of the soldiers, on both sides, laid down their weapons. The king was so angry that this daughter the princess shared the funniest joke with all of his men and declared that the process had lost him the war. The princess however was relieved that the war was over. In the midst of the king’s rage he accidentally read the joke to himself and could no longer contain his laughter. The princess ended up ruling the kingdom because she had never heard the joke. She married the prince from the other kingdom, and is believed to have lived happily ever after.

#4 The Magic Hotdog

Alfred loved hotdogs. Homemade ones, store bought ones, and especially the hotdogs at the fair. Alfred saved $10 so he could eat hotdogs at the fair. Alfred went the fair with his friend Pedro. Pedro was super excited to ride the rides and play the games. Alfred was super excited to eat the hotdogs. Alfred ended up spending all of his money on hotdogs. Pedro really wanted to show Alfred something, so Pedro dragged Alfred to see this strange man. He had nasty teeth, nasty dirty hands, and he was eating a footlong hotdog. This hotdog was covered in relish, mustard, and ketchup. Alfred couldn’t believe his eyes, no matter how many bites of the hotdog the man took, the hotdog never got any smaller! It must be a magic hotdog. The man with a sly look handed the hotdog over the Alfred. Alfred was thrilled. He ate and the and ate and ate the hotdog but it never got smaller. Alfred got bigger and bigger and bigger though from all of the eating. Eventually he got so big he floated straight up into the sky. Alfred is believed to still be floating hight in the sky eating this magic hotdog.

#5 The Magic Boots

In a case of mistaken boots, Patty ended up getting a pair of goblin boots from the shoe store that turned her mean and nasty. She kicked the dog, kicked her mother, and ran away from home. Come to find out the shoe store owner had given Patty the goblin boots instead of the pair of pixie boots she had requested. After Patty had the goblin shoes removed she was able to live happily with her new pixie boots.

#6 The Magic Box

Rum-pel-stilt-skin was no fool. He created a “magic box” that turned gold into straw. This was amazing as no one could believe. He traveled far and wide and shared his “magic box” with all the people that were interested in seeing his wonderful box. After a while everyone began to see that Rum-pel-stilt-skin and the king were rather close, friends in fact. Anyone that had a Rum-pel-stilt-skin piece of straw was often visited by the king’s men which no one ever really wanted to happen again. So eventually the “magic box” lost its appeal to the people. After a time Rum-pel-stilt-skin tried to put on a show for the people with his “magic box” but only a few people showed up. After a much heated debate the people tore open the “magic box” and found it was full of straw. They realized the lie and Rum-pel-stilt-skin became so angry that he stomped his foot on the ground. This in turn got his leg stuck and in his effort to remove his leg, torn himself in two.

Synopses courtesy of Mama’s Coffee Shop
Blog and Homeschool Review

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  • Testimonials

    "Overall – this is hands down the BEST, easiest, and most encouraging reading system I’ve encountered. I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s great for beginning readers like my son as well as for struggling readers up through the 4th grade."

    From a review of The Reading Game
    by Surviving A Teacher's Salary Blogspot


    "Sometimes you find a company that just 'gets it!' That is what we have here. The creators of The Reading Game 'get it!' Making reading fun and easy encourages those who are new to it and reluctant even, to begin on the journey and not look back."

    Family Review Center

    About The Magic Stories™ author

    Over forty years ago, Kenneth Hodkinson, fresh out of college (University of British Columbia, New York University, and Yale University) wrote the first of the Wordly Wise series of vocabulary builders. Constantly revised and updated and now encompassing all grades from K through 12, Wordly Wise is now the gold standard in vocabulary development.

    Ken worked with his daughter, Erika, to launch The Reading Game, an interactive card-matching game that uses FUN to teach young or struggling readers to read their very first book. The Magic Stories™ downloadable reading books are the perfect next step for young readers.


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