From PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Great Word Quest
is a free video game for children ages 6 to 8. Kids join one of three online teams and then go on quests to learn and earn new words. The game cleverly incorporates the characters and assets from several Emmy-nominated PBS children's shows.
How to Play
The Great Word Quest encompasses 12 literacy-based quests based around four themes: mysteries, sports, elections and cooking. Quests are made up of different word games and quizzes about the definitions of words. The word games are presented in many formats, usually using the characters from The Electric Company, Word Girl, and Martha Speaks PBS television shows. They build skills in the areas of vocabulary, synonyms/antonyms, phonics, reading, connected text, and fluency. For example, in one game featuring the dogs from Martha Speaks, kids watch the dogs do tricks and then select the one that did the action that matches the requested word. You may be asked to choose the dog that was "near" to you or the one who went "through" the hoop. The requested word is always read out loud and then defined.
As kids work their way through the steps of a quest, they earn words to use to build silly "Mad Lib" stories where they select verbs, nouns and adjectives. Their selected words appear in a preset story that is read aloud, which frequently includes unpredictable phrases that are hilarious. In addition to earning words, kids also win trophies and unlock videos. The videos are full episodes from The Electric Company, Word Girl and Martha Speaks.
The Great Word Quest appeals to kids for many reasons. First, kids like to feel that they are a part of a team. The game starts out by asking you three questions. Depending on your answers, the game assigns you to one of three teams.
Second, kids like the concept of having their own clubhouse. In this game, it is referred to as Team Headquarters. From this hub, you can access everything this game has to offer: the quests, the games, the videos, daily polls and the machine that makes Silly Stories. You can see how your team is doing compared to others and the trophies you have earned.
A third reason this game works is that it incorporated popular television characters into the quests and educational games. The hosts of the quests are Jessica Ruiz and Manny Spamboni from The Electric Company. They appear in funny vignettes at the beginning of each quest.
The last reason this game is a kid magnet is that kids love to go on scavenger hunt-type quests. The quest format provides kids with a reason to explore 18 educational word games. Since the games are incorporated into the quests, kids willingly play the games so that they can complete the quest. And if they particularly like a game, they can return to the game's clubhouse to replay the games on their own. For example, in the Huggy Dance Game, kids will enjoy trying to figure out which facial expression means "flummoxed."
Parents have the ability to monitor their kids' learning with a progress report sent via email. Because "The Great Word Quest" is free, there is no downside to trying it. Why not throw a little word learning into your summer of fun outdoor play.
If your kids are younger than the targeted ages of 6 to 8, PBS Kids also has a special reading site for preschoolers called PBS KIDS Island
, a URL that leads you to both The Great Word Quest
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