A Computer Game That Reinforces Reading
Every kid’s favorite childhood memories are being glued with your nose in a good book. From Treasure Island to Percy Jackson, to the Magic Treehouse books, children love getting lost in their own imagination.
The video game Minecraft now allows kids to go to Skeleton Island from Treasure Island and search for the famous missing treasure.
The creators of Minecraft wanted to start a project with the goal of bringing reading back. In this world of Minecraft, children can discover every part of Skeleton Island. The partnership between Minecraft and Lancaster University and Microsoft is called Litcraft. Litcraft uses Minecraft to create a virtual version of the fictional Island. Treasure Island was the first virtual literary world that Litcraft created. The company plans to create many more.
The regular Minecraft already has a lot of literary components in it. Elements from Game of Thrones and Harry Potter are just a couple of them. What makes Litcraft more than just another video game is that users are given tasks that require them to brush up on the book the world they’re in is based on.
Sally Bushell, a professor at Lancaster U says, “we hope it will motivate reluctant readers to want to read the book and then play the game.” Litcraft has been tested by children like Dylan who had this to say, “I enjoyed it because I’ve read the book, but you have to follow the rules in that. In games, you can explore. Now I know exactly what the book looked like.”
The project is being presented to schools in the UK with hopes of having Litcraft in libraries by October 2018.
Is There a Downside?
What most researchers are concerned with is that the kids who engage with Litcraft are going to already know how to use the Minecraft software. Student and teacher roles are swtiching. The teachers who agree to have Litcraft in their classrooms are going to need to be pretty confident in the program.
Librarians have a high interest in a multiplayer mode. Bushell revealed that they are planning to add Lord of the Flies. This game would feature a multiplayer mode where players could battle it out like the book. This mode will be extremely interesting to teachers.