Get in the game: Encouraging play and game creation to develop new literacies in the library

Play is a well-documented educational tool, but one that has begun to decline in schools and early childhood education due to the increased pressure for cognitive-based school readiness programs. Play such as pretend play and video games engages children and helps them to develop literacies and competencies outside of the classroom. Additionally, play is a hands-on approach to curriculum that creates deeper understandings and relationships with the subject matter. In this article, two programs are highlighted that combine elements of play to foster these kinds of connections. In live action video games, aspects of video gaming and pretend play bring children into the world of the video game and teach them collaboration, resource management, and creative problem solving. In a strategy game that was designed to replace a book discussion, teens connected more deeply to the story by discussing their own responses, the structure of the narrative, and their feelings about the protagonist's choices. These programs are an attempt to bring play back into learning to encourage the development of new competencies and foster a love of learning.

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