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The Primer Project: Creating an Interactive Children's Storybook

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As part of a group project, myself and four teammates created an interactive children's storybook based off of the "Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" in Neal Stephenson's novel The Diamond Age. This electronic book is meant to be read aloud by

As part of a group project, myself and four teammates created an interactive children's storybook based off of the "Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" in Neal Stephenson's novel The Diamond Age. This electronic book is meant to be read aloud by a caregiver with their child, and is designed for reading over long distances through the use of real-time voice and video calling. While one part of the team focused on building the electronic book itself and writing the program, myself and two others wrote the story and I provided illustrations. Our Primer tells the story of a young princess named Charname (short for character name) who escapes from a tower and goes on a mission to save four companions to help her on her quest. The book is meant for reader-insertion, and teaches children problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking skills by presenting challenges for Princess Charname to solve. The Primer borrows techniques from modern video game design, focusing heavily on interactivity and feelings of agency through offering the child choices of how to proceed, similar to choose-your-own-adventure books. If brought to market, the medium lends itself well to expanded quests and storylines for the child to explore as they learn and grow. Additionally, resources are provided for the narrator to help create an engaging experience for the child, based off of research on parent-child cooperative reading and cooperative gameplay. The final version of the Primer included a website to run the program, a book-like computer to access the program online, and three complete story segments for the child and narrator to read together.

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2016-05

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Accelerated Reader: The Good, the Bad, and the Future of the Program

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The Accelerated Reader Program has been a widely used reading program in elementary schools in the United States. However, even with its popularity, there have been controversies on if and how it should be used in the classroom. Arguments in

The Accelerated Reader Program has been a widely used reading program in elementary schools in the United States. However, even with its popularity, there have been controversies on if and how it should be used in the classroom. Arguments in support say the program gets children to read and that it is a helpful tool for teachers to keep track of each students reading abilities. Arguments against suggest that book choice is decreased, book levels are askew, the quizzes do not promote higher level thinking, and the use of incentives may send the wrong signals to students. Schools have started to abandon the program in the recent years, but maybe it will come back bigger and stronger. In the meantime, schools need to make sure that enriching books fill the schools and classrooms to promote reading for their students.

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2013-12