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Reading Improvement is Fun & (Video) Games

Provided by George Mason University Science & Technology Campus


Recent Mason graduate Shipley Owens helped Stonewall Middle School students improve their literacy skills last year through video games. Owens, who now works with a recent VSGI graduate video game company, plans to continue working with the students this fall. Photo Credit: Jamie Rogers, Strategic Communications, George Mason University

Last year at Stonewall Middle School in Manassas, literacy coach Elizabeth Jones and Mason student Shipley Owens used video games to help students in Jones’s Reading Strategies class boost their reading and critical thinking skills. The class helps eighth graders who failed the reading portion of Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) test.

This collaboration started when Jones reached out to Vera Lichtenberg, director of the Mason Game and Technology Academy (MGTA), to learn more about using video games to engage students. (MGTA is the Community Outreach Youth Program for Mason’s Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI) and the Mason Computer Game Design Program.)

Jones and Owens designed a curriculum using vintage video games to explain concepts like narrative design, first and third person perspective, and conflict. The medium – video games – adds appeal for students.

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