October 08, 2008
Video games might help kids develop more than overgrown thumb muscles, reports the New York Times. Increasingly, publishers and educators are using video games to bait students into opening that ancient relic known as a book. This is, to an extent, laudable: schools should prepare students for the (digital) future, and teachers should strive to make learning relevant and engaging. But while digital media might provide innovative hands-on choices for educators, it is no substitute for the printed word. "Gaming evangelists" who claim that reading is too passive for activity-yearning youngsters ought to take a page from one opponent of this defeatist trend: "rather than say, 'Oh, books are irrelevant in the modern era because there are all these other media available,' I would ask shouldn't we be doing a better job of teaching kids how to read?" Indeed. A student who has learned to actively read--to decode and deconstruct, to question and connect and imagine, to find hidden meaning, to understand and appreciate tone and irony and language--will never be disengaged or unhappy with mere print. And on occasion, he or she might even prefer it to Super Smash Brothers Brawl and World of Warcraft.
"Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers," by Motoko Rich, New York Times, October 5, 2008