Animal Crossing and literacy
Posted January 8, 2009on:
Chris Dawson blogged about how a Wii game, Animal Crossing, might promote basic literacy.
[Link to Animal Crossing website]
Using his children as examples, he shared how his 6-year-old wanted to read more as a result of playing this game. I can relate to that because I play games on the Wii with my son and he has to read to understand instructions on screen too. And like Chris, we read to (and with) our son before bedtime too.
I share his optimism and his view that any game that gets kids to want to read more is a good thing. I think that does not matter if the reading material is on paper or on a screen, although they are likely to read more on the latter in their lifetimes. And it helps that the game is kid-friendly in that it does not “involve blood, gore, sex, or drug use”.
He also recognised that the game was not designed specifically for reading, but was a happy coincidence instead. I like the fact that kids can interact with their peers over WiFi. They might then practice their literacy skills in social contexts. These are what games are good at: Informal learning opportunities rooted in engaging experiences. The concepts, skills, and even perhaps the values that the games promote can transfer into other contexts.
The educational gaming sessions that I will facilitate at the MxL will begin in about a month, but I do not have copies of Animal Crossing. Does anyone have a copy or know of generous sponsors?