The most effective way to teach kids to read is to keep them motivated and having fun
New York, New York (PRWEB) August 15, 2012
Teaching children to read from an early age through game-like educational computer programs is being touted as key to improving literacy skills as US students continue to rank poorly among major industrialized nations.
The US ranks 14th in adolescent reading literacy according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a widely recognized global benchmark that compares the reading, science and math proficiency of 15 year old school pupils across 65 nations.
With a PISA reading score of 500, deemed “average” by the OECD, the US falls significantly behind other industrialized nations including Australia (515), Japan (520), Canada (524), Korea (539) and leading nation China (556).
Highlighting the motivational and educational merits of computer games on young children, a study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison observed that the “interest-driven” learning fostered by computer games helps children learn more effectively.
“Scholars who study video games and learning have noted that children and young adults, within their affinity spaces, often read text that is far more complicated and difficult than what they read in school.”
“[Video games] are, in a way, Trojan horses for bringing interest-driven learning back into the frame of what we, as educators and learning science researchers, might think worth serious consideration,” concludes the study.
University of Wisconsin-Madison professor James Paul McGee also argues that computer games are highly motivating and that schools should use games to enhance learning and literacy.
“Motivation is the most important factor that drives learning. When motivation dies, learning dies and playing stops. Since good games are highly motivating to a great many people, we can learn from them how motivation is created and sustained,” Prof. McGee says.
“I argue that schools, workplaces, families, and academic researchers have a lot to learn about learning from good computer and video games. Such games incorporate a whole set of fundamentally sound learning principles.”
“I also argue that schools, workplaces, and families can use games and game technologies to enhance learning. Further, I believe that use of games and game technologies for learning content in schools and skills in workplaces will become pervasive. Many parents, by getting their sometimes quite young children to play games while actively thinking about the game’s connections to other games, media, texts, and the world are already doing so,” says Prof. McGee”
The developers of the Reading Eggs website have taken on the findings of James Paul McGee and other similar research and developed a learning to read program that uses multiple motivational elements to keep children engaged in learning longer. In effect Reading Eggs turns learning to read into a game. It also puts young children, even 4 year olds in control of their learning and once they get started on the program they only need a minimum of teacher or parental help.
According to Matthew Sandblom, CEO at Reading Eggs, an online reading program that more than 500,000 American students are using, one of the ways that literacy can be improved is by harnessing the learning potential of computer games:
“Children today grow up with technology as an integral part of the world they live in, and they are naturally drawn to and motivated by computer games. Reading programs that integrate or even replicate the enjoyment kids experience when playing computer games can potentially be far more effective in teaching than traditional methods.”
“The most effective way to teach kids to read is to keep them motivated and having fun. Reading Eggs encourages children from the ages of 3 to 7 to learn by appealing to their natural instinct and curiosity to play. The program is inherently motivating for children as it features game-like activities, songs and animations that make children keen to keep learning and practicing,” says Sandblom.
“For children to continue their reading development into adolescence, it’s important to maintain challenging activities that match their academic progression. Reading Eggspress, which is designed for 7 to 12 year olds, introduces pre-teens to more advanced lessons and reading material that prepares them for the challenges of secondary education.”
“While there is no single silver bullet to improving literacy levels, all the research points to the fact that the more time students spend on literacy tasks the better their skills get. Most students are happy to be using Reading Eggs for as long as their parents or teacher will let them because of all the games and rewards.”
For more information or interviews about Reading Eggs contact readingeggsmedia(at)pascalpress(dot)com(dot)au