Increasing Reading and Literacy
If you're an English teacher, then one of the saddest moments in your professional experience is probably when students tell you that they hate reading. Or that they haven't read a book since such-and-such grade. These moments are genuinely heartbreaking, and I have often wondered, "If these students haven't felt a connection with a book since elementary school, how we are going to win them over with literature that was written from before their grandparents were born?" Fortunately, I've found an approach with virtual worlds that I think works pretty well.
While I was hoping to boost engagement and increase student understandings of literature by incorporating the creation of video games into my lessons, what I didn't quite expect was how becoming creators and storytellers would make students want to read more! I have literally dozens of positive responses from students about how this project helped to change the way they see reading and writing. Below are just a few of my favorites. They include quotes from English Language Learners, previously disengaged Latino males, Honors-level students, and bright-yet-underperforming students who started out doing just enough work to get by.