A new summer reading program is engaging young readers through an interactive computer game that not only challenges students to read books and journey through educational websites, but encourages them to take their learning to the real world by visiting places around Pittsburgh.
Questyinz is the first library reading game of its kind in the country. Announced by the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA), the program pushes students to venture beyond the library, using community and self-guided experiences to further explore personal interests, whether that means a trip to the zoo, Phipps or a local museum, says Kristin Rama, youth services coordinator.
"Librarian have come together to create the project in a way that's never been done before," says Rama. "There's many different interests represented in the quest. There really is something for everyone."
The quest begins with a visit to one of 20 participating libraries to pick up a Questzine card. Once students receive their card, they can play all summer long by visiting the website. Through the game, students create avatars and clubhouses, completing discovery Quests to earn badges and points towards virtual rewards.
The program was developed by Gary Gardiner, manager of Education & Entertainment Initiatives at the Idea Foundry, local gaming company V-teractive, and Rama with the support of ACLA. The program is made possible through the support of the Grable Foundation, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s (AIU) Center for Creativity and Spark at the Sprout Fund.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Kristen Rama, ACLA; Gary Gardiner. Idea Foundry