Learning to read can be challenging for many students. Teachers and parents can help students foster a love of literacy by incorporating innovative methods that can help take the boredom out of learning. Whether a student is struggling to read or they’re experiencing reading obstacles such as dyslexia, approaches like using games may help accelerate students’ ability when learning to read.
Scholastic has put together a list of board games that do just that. Games like Tall Tales, for instance, require players to choose cards and work with others to create stories. Parents can enhance learning opportunities when playing the game by having their children write down the stories inspired by the cards.
Sequence Letters, on the other hand, is played by matching letter cards with pictures. It’s a game that encourages children to learn to sound out letters in order to win. For older children, long-time favourites like Boggle and Scrabble can encourage children to get creative and to spell longer words.
There’s no denying that children today love to play video games. At one time, video games were seen as a distraction from education, but today, pedagogy experts recognize them as an ideal tool to engage learners of any age. According to the Learning and Numeracy Secretariat (LNS), “Serious video games and computer simulations offer an interesting context for learning because they reinforce student motivation. This has been demonstrated by several researchers who have explored the educational principles at play in video games.”
Video games can hold the interest of users longer, so, when they’re used effectively, educators can incorporate them into their teaching practice. Role-playing games (RPGs) can be particularly engaging for learners since they require players to explore virtual spaces and to read clues to advance through the game.
Games that draw players in with rich storytelling and impressive visuals or require solving puzzles to advance through the game can help develop crucial skills in reading. This is where literacy experts recognize an opportunity. The interactive element of games keeps users engaged and, more importantly, motivated. If they want to move forward in the game, users need to be able to master reading.
Larger video game franchises are also known to develop what’s known as paratextual products that enhance the fantasy worlds they create. These can include things like graphic novels and even full-length books. Fans of the games become motivated to spend time reading more in-depth books so they can enhance their knowledge of the game world and find crucial clues that will help them advance further in the game.
Sometimes thinking outside the box to motivate reading means a little extra support in the classroom or at home. As your children’s interests develop in childhood, keeping their curiosity alive combines learning with play, and will set the foundation for hobbies and interests to develop into their teens and adulthood. Activities such as ‘I Spy’ or rhyming games help with social and academic skills. What games have you used to help your child blossom into an avid reader?
Whether it’s by playing board games or exploring a virtual world in a computer game, learning how to read doesn’t have to be a boring task in the eyes of students. Through games like these, learning to read can literally become child’s play.