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  • Kraig Brachman

Encourage Your Child’s Reading with Tabletop RPGs 

Reading is all around us. Through recipes, news articles, texts, and more. Reading is an extremely important part of modern life. We here at the Further Education Society of Alberta try to highlight the importance of reading and provide the necessary skills and tools to help build your and your children’s reading abilities, but we also like to highlight ways that you can engage with reading that may not be as obvious.

Engagement is a big part of why people avoid traditional reading material – struggling to read something is hard enough, but when you don’t want to read, it can be an impossible task. That’s why reading out loud, asking questions about the reading material, or even finding non-narrative-based ways to incorporate reading into daily life is important.

Which brings us to today’s topic, a good way to introduce more fun into reading time is to play games, role play games!

Now, if you’ve never opened Dungeon Master’s Guide before, you’re likely unaware of the contents in a tabletop Role Playing Game’s game manual. A quick overview, there are pictures, rules on how to role-play that game, and lots and lots of lore. Tabletop RPGs can be a little intimidating to those on the outside: so many rules, weird dice that you may have never seen before, math, and maybe you’re not into the whole swords and sorcery thing. All these things are understandable; but, inside the well illustrated covers of a game manual, exists a great game that cam help stimulate the imagination and provide ample opportunity to practice 8 out of the 9 skill for success.

Much like the pirate’s code, think of the rules more like guidelines, and while the Game Master (the person running the game) has final say on the rules, more than anything else these games are meant to be fun, so if something “breaks” the rules, but it is fun, that is okay too; they are games at the end of the day.

Getting to know the world and its rules requires the player to read! It’s not strictly necessary to know 100% of the game’s lore and rules, but it does help, and it stimulates the imagination while you play. Reading the Player’s Manual, the Game Manual, the Dungeon Master’s Guide or whatever the specific game calls the book, is a fun way to engage with all the key tenants of literacy.

Another magical element to tabletop gaming is problem-solving, communication, and collaboration! Socializing is a huge draw for tabletop RPGs, as much of the game is played through verbal communication. There are a few solo campaigns you can play by yourself and 2 player games, but tabletop gaming is primarily a 3 or more-person game. Knowing how to communicate ideas to your fellow players is important, and playing the game is the best way to get better at it.

Table-top RPGs encourage multiple essential life skills, like reading, writing, problem-solving, adaptability, creativity and innovation, communication, collaboration, and numeracy! Addition and subtraction is a reoccurring skill used for playing tabletop RPGs. Math is used to determine your outcomes along with modifiers, to generating character stats, to things like combat. Like reading, math can be a dry exercise if someone is forced to do it for arbitrary reasons, but it becomes much more enjoyable when tied to a game.

Dungeons and Dragons is treated as the default tabletop RPG -- it was essentially the first as we know the genre now, but there are game worlds of every type. There is so much to explore that it is probably worthwhile to go and talk to a store representative at your local gaming store. The people running these stores are very passionate and would love to share their experience with any prospective gamer. There is some game setting that will intrigue your child and get them reading about the lore and rules of the game.


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