Have you ever wondered how you could get your students to be as excited about reading comprehension as they seem to be about playing the latest online video game? My students will happily discuss the details of their latest foray into the Fortnite world but wouldn’t dream of discussing the main idea of the paragraph I asked them to read. At least, they wouldn’t talk about it without being asked to!
Well, the good news is that the people who created Squiggle Park, a Canadian “learn to read” app for K to 2 students, have created Dreamscape, a “read to learn” site created specifically with gamers in mind! And….it’s totally FREE!!! And….it’s Canadian!!!
So, Dreamscape is a literacy platform for Grade 3 to 6 students (Grade 7 is being worked on and Grade 8 is in the future). Through reading short passages and answering questions, students (Dreamseekers) can build their own “base”, or “dwell” in the Dreamscape world, with the goal of protecting their Visioncore, where they store their dreams. Successful readings give players the opportunity to add defenses and resources to their base, as they build their dwell and move forward in time. (Here’s a rundown on all the characters and magical buildings, for those of us who like to know what we’re getting into ahead of time!)
For those who are wondering, as students successfully read passages and answer questions, the level of reading goes up, (and down when they are not successful) without the students even being aware of it. I was concerned that eventually my good readers would “run out” of passages to read but in speaking with the development team, I have been assured that they are constantly adding more passages and are seeking partnerships with publishing houses for even more reading passages.
Now, I must admit, I am not a “gamer”, so when I first tried playing Dreamscape myself, I struggled to enjoy it. But when I got a few of my students logged in to their accounts, they immediately were comfortable and knew what to do. One of them told me “it’s sort of like Clash of Clans – I can figure this out easily!” There is a tutorial for those kids in your class who are not gamers and below you will find a video that shows you what the game looks and plays like:
One of the things my kids liked is that they can “battle” other players in the class. One of the things I liked is that the players can be at different levels when they battle each other. Battles are limited to 3 minutes in time and the game is designed so that students have to do a lot of reading in order to build up to a battle.
As an ELA teacher, I am thrilled when my kids get excited about reading. And it’s great if I can find something online that’s free and safe. And the icing on the cake is finding something that gives me data about how the kids are doing. When Dreamscape first launched as a pilot program this last fall, they hadn’t developed their teacher dashboard, so as a teacher, I couldn’t see any stats about how long my kids were playing, what things they were struggling with or where they were being successful. That has now changed. The teacher dashboard gives teachers all kinds of useful information, from what skills your class as a whole has mastered to what skills a specific student is struggling with.
- Dreamscape is an online reading comprehension app/site for Grade 3 to 6 kids (Gr. 7 coming soon!)
- It works on PCs, Macs, Chromebooks and on tablets with a free app – I’ve personally tested this!
- Dreamscape has gamified reading comprehension skills
- It is absolutely free – no cost to school OR parents! And it will stay free!
- It’s Canadian – go Canada!
- A little Math for you:
- Kids + Video Games = Engagement
- Engagement + Reading = Learning
- Via the dashboard, teachers get all kinds of useful data to help drive instruction
- Setting up a class and adding students is quick and easy
So, with all of that going for it, why not give Dreamscape a try? I bet your students will thank you for it!