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Last Updated: Wednesday November 03 2004 17:18 GMT

Book plus games equals book-aims

Nearly half of children never pick up a book after school, preferring to watch TV or play computer games instead.

    Nearly half of children never pick up a book after school, preferring to watch TV or play computer games instead.

    Students incorporate gaming elements into the design of books for the 21st century.

Learning aims

  • Look at why reading is good for you
  • Look at the appeal of games and books
  • Look at the less exciting features of games and books

Teaching ideas

1. Icebreaker
    Click here to read the story:

    Ask the class:

  • Why do you think experts are worried that children who don't read are less likely to start again later in life?
  • In what ways are books good for you?

2. Warm up

    Split the class into two.

    In pairs, half the class brainstorm these two questions:

  • What's appealing about books?
    E.g. Escape into a different world
  • What's appealing about games?
    E.g. Challenge of completing the mission

    In pairs the other half of the class brainstorm these two questions:

  • What's boring about books?
    E.g. Having to read long descriptive bits before you get to the action
  • What's boring about games?
    E.g. They are repetitive

    The two halves feed back and the answers of all four questions are used to create a class list.

3. Main activity

    [A] Students imagine they have been given the task of inventing a book for the 21st century which has all the appeal of a game and none of the boring aspects of a book. What special features would it have?

    Some examples of new-age books that have already been invented include:

  • Interactive adventure: When you get to the bottom of a page, you are given the choice of two pages to turn to. Each one adds a different twist to the plot.
  • Talking book: You listen to a recording of someone reading the book while you follow the words on a page. Almost as good as being read to!
  • Text book (not the kind you work from in lessons!): A novel sent in bite-sized chapters to your mobile phone.
  • Blog: Comments that other people can see on the internet. Like a non-private diary!
  • ebook: An electronic book which can hold a whole library on a device no bigger than a paperback. This means reading on screen!

    You could use combine of these features or invent some ideas of your own.

    Jot down your ideas on paper and pick out the best ones.

    [B] Now, design a poster to advertise your new age book.

    It should include:

  • Title of book.
  • Details of its special features.
  • Picture of your 21st century book. Does it have pages? It is a gadget?
  • A few words describing the genre and plot of the story.
    E.g. A science fiction who-dunnit set on Venus in the 2050.

4. Extension activity

    Students write the first page of their story, including some of the special features.

5. Plenary

    Students present their posters to the class pointing out the appeal of the gaming features they have used and how they have overcome the boring aspects of books.

    Teachers' background

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