Games have been used in many ways to supplement learning, expounding on various subjects and making learning fun for the child. I’m leaning towards this as well, for reading at present time, though not in the sense that many folks may be accustomed.
I recently began playing the game Everquest 2 in my spare time. EQ2 is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) set in the fantasy land of Norrath. Players can play any of a myriad of races (elves, dwarves, trolls, ogres, fairies, and more) and classes (druids, fighters, rangers, wizards, warlocks, and more) and adventure through a vast land populated by fantasy creatures. This was the first MMORPG that I ever played, and nostalgia has brought me back.
Out of the eternal curiosity of childhood, Hannah was curious about the game. She plays Minecraft on her own, but has asked about the games I play lately, and EQ2 was no exception. I created her a free account of her own, and she has adventured both on her own and with me.
As the name indicates, there are many quests or missions in the game. Each has a good amount of dialog with the NPCs (non-player characters) before you can accept a quest. I’ve been looking for ways to make reading fun for Hannah, to make it seem like less of an assignment and get her to learn to enjoy reading for the sake of reading. As a bit of supplement towards our normal reading assignments and story books from the library, I’m encouraging her to read the quest dialog before accepting quests.
So far this is working out nicely. I know I no longer read quests before accepting them, in my jaded gamer’s need to reach max level and experience the end game content such as dungeons and raiding. After encouraging her to read the quests, I’m starting to make an effort of my own to avoid just clicking through the dialog and actually paying attention to the quests and story lines again, even though I might have experienced them before oh so many years ago.
We’re both having a blast and she’s getting some great reading practice at the same time. She’s also taken to crafting in the game, which is introducing her to recipes and organizational skills as well. I will continue to look for ways to link what we learn in class to things she enjoys, whether it’s EQ2, Minecraft, or whatever else comes along. I can’t wait until we start with perimeter and area in math! Minecraft will be perfect for that, and she’s already worked with both when following building tutorials (making a 9×13 block building for example), even though she’s not aware of it.
I can’t wait to see how I can further enhance her education just by including her in some of my geeky hobbies. I’m sure it will be a great adventure for the both of us!