Gamification,Reward system

There’s a key way to get kids to read more books—and enjoy it

January 31, 2017
in Kids

It has become conventional thought that gamification—the application of game-style challenges and rewards to traditional tasks—is changing the way kids learn. If there’s something being taught, it’s almost certain there’s now a gamified way to learn it. Making teaching methods more entertaining is clearly beneficial for kids; earning badges and unlocking avatars makes online games exciting and engaging, and the same methods can be applied to learning tasks. But as great as it has been in many cases, gamified learning isn’t a long-term solution for children and literacy. Moreover, it’s dragging us away from what the fundamental reward should actually be: reading itself. As the founder of what was once one of the largest social-gaming companies, I understand what makes gaming work. But I also understand its limitations. While the fun activities and rewards in games may be helpful to engage and motivate some kids, when it comes to reading, they are not a long-term answer. All those badges and avatars won’t get kids to persevere with a book if it isn’t geared to the child’s correct reading level or the subject matter isn’t of interest. Moreover, academic studies shows that youngsters that earn rewards for activities are likely to stop doing those activities when the rewards stop—but kids who do the same things without rewards are likely to continue, just for fun. This especially significant when it comes to reading. Kids look for content that excites them, for language they understand, and for the experience a book will bring them. Have you ever watched children choosing books at a...

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