Improve Your Child’s Expressive Language through Video Games – Language Development

by Rachel

in Language Development

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Is your child struggling to make himself understood?

If your child has an expressive language disorder, you know how frustrating it can be. I know there were times when one of my children was desperate to tell me about something important in school, but just wasn’t able to get his point across clearly.

He felt badly because he really wanted my advice about what to do, and I felt badly because I wanted to help him but didn’t have enough info to help him.

Most of the exercises for helping your child speak better are artificial and just not fun.

If you’ve ever had to sit through the typical exercises given for helping your child’s expressive language skills, you know they can get pretty boring.

Often you have to ask your child to state the correct word (fill in the blank), answer questions, or something other school like activity. And after a whole day of school, which was probably not the easiest experience for your child to begin with.

Let’s just say that most parents and kids lose their enthusiasm real quick.

On top of everything, those exercises feel artificial. Real life is more spontaneous, and full of more social interaction than a fill in the blank. You just can’t imagine  how it’ll all transfer over to real-life.

Creating a game guide of his favorite video game will help your child speak better.

Talk to your child about his favorite video game, on the other hand, and watch instantly as his eyes light up, his voice becomes more animated – he’s psyched and ready to go on for days.

They’re a subject he has extensive experience with (so he’s an expert- a great ego boost), and is enthusiastic about. Plus he gets to create a useful product for others to learn from: that makes him a winner, “cool.”

At the same time, your child will be polishing his sequencing skills, improving his sentence structure, learning how to paraphrase, as well as a host of other skills. Ready to dive in?

How to Play:

1) Explain to your child that they are going to create a game guide for other kids on how to play their favorite video game. Younger children might choose to make a basic guide, while older children and teenagers can choose to make a walkthrough, or an “expert” or guru guide.

2) Let your child decide what format her presentation will be in. She can choose to make a video, a podcast, or a PowerPoint presentation. If she chooses to make a video, she can use a screen capture program such as Camtasia to record what is seen on the computer screen.

If your child chooses to make a podcast or other audio recording, there are many free programs she can use to audit their recording. Audacity is one such program that is both free and of high quality.

PowerPoint presentations can include screenshots (use the “print screen” button on your keyboard and crop out the unnecessary stuff), but you can also add music (try Musicloops for free music) to spice things up.

3) Help your child sketch out a basic outline for their presentation. Explain to them that in order to be effective, it minimally needs to include the following elements:

  • Goal of the game
  • Basic explanation of what you need to do on each level
  • Tips and hints

Have your child first create each section individually as a rough draft; they can put the parts together later.

4) Next, have your child turn on the video game. They will create material as they play, so they will have a better idea of what they need to write. If they can’t pause the game after each level, then let them play the game once through and then write material for each section immediately afterwards.

Younger children might need you to help them: ask them questions about the game, and write down their answers (if they have difficulty writing) or give them time to write the answers on their own.

5) Help your child revise and edit each section. Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation; let spell check do that for your child. You are more concerned with your child’s ability to give over information in a clear, fairly concise manner.

That means your child should make sure that someone who is a complete newbie to the game should be able to understand their guide. Encourage them to show it to a family member or a friend (if they’re feeling brave) who is not familiar with the game, explaining that this is what everyone who creates a how-to guide does before they publish their work.

6) Create the final product. If your child is making a PPT presentation, she can write everything out on slides, taking screenshots when necessary. She should first write it out, taking the screenshots afterwards; she might need your help with this, as it requires quick hands and some pasting and cropping.

If your child is creating a video, he now has a good idea of a script. He needn’t memorize it; since he’s written it and he’s of course familiar with the game, it merely acts as a prompt for him to ensure he’s said everything he should say.

7)  Share it with the world. The best part of creating this guide is sharing it with other game fans. Your child can post it on gamer sites, or he can upload it to the following free sites:

  • Video: Your child can upload to just YouTube, or he can use TubeMogul or Traffic Geyser to upload the video to multiple sites.
    • PowerPoint Presentation: Your child can submit their PPT to these sites for free:   Slideshare, Slideboom, Authorstream, and Slideburner. You can also easily turn their PPT into a PDF using PrimoPDF, which is free. You can then submit the PDF version to these sites: Calameo, Butterfly, Yudu , Esnips, and Scribd.
  • Podcast or audio presentation: Submit to these sites for free: podcast.com, iTunes, dayo, and podcastalley.
  • Written report: Since your child’s report will be very similar to a step-by-step tutorial, your child can submit it to these sites for free:  e-how.com, tutorialized.com, Good-Tutorials.com, and Designm.ag.

Whichever site your child chooses to submit their guide, they can use Pingler and SocialMarker to submit the URL of their product to dozens of social bookmarking sites. Both are free and will help their guide get noticed, hopefully sending traffic from other like-minded gamers.

Most importantly, your child will be on their way to improving their expressive language skills, all in a fun and novel way.

If you liked this post, why not like it on Facebook? Better yet, why not tell me what you think in the comments below?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca West November 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm

And perhaps the year of when this page was created, you would be helping me more than you will know :)

Thanks again,
Rebecca West

Rachel November 17, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I’ve been blogging about a year and a half now. The post on video games was written in 2011.

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