Kwame Alexander, a renowned children’s book author and poet, recently partnered with the educational, multiplayer game Adventure Academy to create a new in-game video series titled WordPlay that will be available to users at the beginning of September. Alexander, the New York Times bestselling author of 37 children’s books including Newbery and Caldecott award winners The Crossover and The Undefeated, understands the importance of literacy and the need to make learning fun in order to intrinsically motivate children to engage with content. In fact, he even founded the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana which is part of a larger literacy movement that he established called LEAP for Ghana. Alexander is a regular contributor to NPR’s “Morning Edition”, serves as the inaugural Innovator-in-Residence at the American School in London, and is the Founding Editor of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that celebrates diversity in literature. Even after all his achievements, Alexander is especially proud of WordPlay and his partnership with Age of Learning.
WordPlay was designed to teach children how to write short stories and each episode features Alexander working through a key stage of the storytelling process with help from various friends. For example, in one episode, he is searching for the perfect metaphor and is assisted by hip-hop ambassador and rapper Toni Blackman who freestyles a special “word of the day.” Other well-known guest stars include actor and author Maulik Pancholy of “30 Rock” and former VP of Animated Shorts for Nickelodeon, Samantha Berger. Among the concepts discussed are exposition, character development, and how to build a sense of mystery.
“The Pajama Drama Club” is another fun aspect of the show that features kids who act out stories by performing literary songs and jokes in a theatrical production. Age of Learning’s team of teachers and curriculum experts have created interactive learning activities to accompany each WordPlay episode within Adventure Academy to help young learners deepen their understanding of key topics and practice writing their own stories.
In a Zoom conference in late August, a sneak preview of WordPlay was debuted which illustrated how each episode features Kwame humorously teaching participants about the basics of storytelling. Considering that the target audience of Adventure Academy are elementary-school-aged children, these are valuable skills to learn at a young age. In total, there will be ten episodes within the digital series and the lessons will be taught in a way that is both engaging and fun with the goal of helping children become active, independent, and confident storytellers.
Adventure Academy is proud to offer thousands of learning activities in a fun and safe virtual world. Available to families on computers, tablets, and smartphones, Adventure Academy builds critical knowledge of essential topics in language arts, math, science, social studies, and more. WordPlay episodes will premiere within Adventure Academy at the beginning of September. For more information on WordPlay, visit www.adventureacademy.com/wordplay
and Adventure Academy at www.adventureacademy.com.