Close reading is careful and purposeful rereading of text. During close reading, students focus on what the words mean, and the character's purpose in saying them. Close reading requires children to understand what they are reading.
For parents who are using Sydney's World as an educational tool to strengthen comprehension and vocabulary, close reading is strongly recommended for all levels. At school, students answer questions to demonstrate their ability to close read. This skill is an absolute necessity to perform well on reading assessments and state tests.
“A text based game immediately causes close reading.”
--Erin Hoffman, Game Design Lead at GlassLab Games
Sydney's World reading passages were designed for students at least on a third grade reading level. While younger readers will concentrate on fluency, older readers will be more able to grasp the concepts and focus on comprehension.
One of the greatest challenges parents and educators face is engaging reluctant readers. Sydney's World has a full middle-grade fiction book inside (including hundreds of sentences in audio-book format, where the written text and character graphics are supplemented with voice-acting simultaneously).
Sydney's World is written in screenplay format, so the only parts your child will read are interesting parts; character dialogue, just like a movie. There are no filler adverbs and adjectives, nor lengthy descriptions of inanimate objects that could turn your child away. Character based dialogue is the perfect format for turn-taking reading between you and your child.
Reading passages are broken up with exploration and occasional battles, which provide immersion that enable attention and focus to be sustained over longer periods of time. The result is significantly more reading; you will eventually turn the game off, not your child.
Click the DBGL or Educators tabs to learn about using Sydney's World as digital game-based learning.
Sydney's World is a quest-based game. As such, your child must understand and recall information in order to know what to do and where to go next!
Sydney's World will expand the vocabulary of any student. Research shows the best way for children to improve vocabulary is meaningful dialogue with adults or advanced peers.
Sydney's World incorporates this strategy twofold: the characters themselves fulfill the role of conveying meaningful dialogue by adults, and the game is designed to be played with a relative or advanced peer to read the more difficult character text and provide definitions and examples if needed.
Sydney's World has a robust vocabulary of 570 advanced words spread throughout the game in 32 distinct areas. These words are commonly used in conversation by intelligent people, and are found in adult literature.
This is a small sample of the words Sydney was unable to define: foe, wrath, arrogance, mocking, philosophy, gloomy, dejected, sacred, courageous, banish, and intercede. The complete list is available on request by educators using Sydney's World.