What are we doing?
With People’s Meeples (a community organisation we’re closely associated with), we are providing over 70 literacy boxes for families who will make best use of them. These boxes have four games in, that we’ve chosen because they support particular aspects of reading and comprehension: Just One, Braggart, Dice Academy, and Story Cubes.
This isn’t all though.
Everyone with a box gets a booklet explaining why we chose the games with some ideas for how to get the best out of them, and an invitation to a ‘virtual parents evening’ where we will teach the games and explain why they’re going to help their kids with literacy.
We’d love to give out more – if you’re able, you could donate here to help!
Why those games?
We explain this more in our parents’ evenings, but in short:
- Braggart has lots of different vocabulary for children to read, it’s full of figurative language and idioms, and it has a sense of humour that we find keeps children engaged.
- Dice Academy encourages the speedy recall of words, and introduces children to new vocabulary that other people around the table are using.
- Just One introduces the same word from multiple different perspectives, helping to develop a fuller understanding of key vocabulary
- Story Cubes, when combined with our special card based on Braggart, provides a different way to understand how stories can be structured, that will improve their comprehension of other narratives.
How are you choosing who to give boxes to?
We have a couple of schools we have worked with over the last few years, so we’re asking teachers to distribute boxes to families they think will benefit the most.
Schools and families may also buy boxes (which will include the invite to the online parents evening and all the resources too).
If anyone knows of other places to receive funding, we would love to know!
How can I be involved?
If you’re a teacher with access to some funding, you could buy some for your families.
If you’re a parent, you can buy one for your family.
What’s the theory behind this?
If you’re knowledgeable about games you might have noticed that, from out list, only Braggart involves much reading. So how will this help with literacy? We’ll explain this in more depth at the parents evenings, but there are lots of things that predict whether someone will be a strong reader as they grow. One key thing is vocabulary and understanding spoken words. Schools are exceptionally good at helping children learn how to turn the words on a page into sounds, so we’re deliberately focussing on helping children to understand what they read.
Our backgrounds are in research and teaching, with a particular interest in reading, with Peter working on a reading intervention project, which helped us find the perfect games.
Why are we doing this?
We’ve always had a passion for using games for the social and educational benefits they provide.
People’s Meeples used to run weekly sessions with Catcote School and an Autism Friendly Night. These have stopped now, and as Gamers@Hart is currently homeless, it may be a while before we’re running again (find out more about that here).
But we had some money ringfenced for work with young people, and this seems like the best use.
How will you make sure they’re wisely used?
Games will be given out by teachers who know their families, and know if they’re likely to be used. .
We also think having the online ‘parents evening’ will remove the biggest barrier – learning the games. We also chose games that we know can be easily learnt while playing, within 2-3 minutes.
What makes someone suitable for these boxes?
If you’re an individual family looking for a box, everyone is suitable. These are aimed as KS2, but the games also work well with KS3 and for many children, KS1.
Some schools may choose to give them to children who haven’t had much access to reading material during the lockdown, or where they’re concerned a family has been disproportionately affected by missing school. It may be tempting to only think of children who are struggling readers, but sometimes the strongest readers are those most disadvantaged by time away from school. The games we’ve chosen grow in complexity with the children’s understanding.