Scholastic created the fantasy MMORPG Spirit Animals to go with their book series of the same name. In this game, the player is one of a select group of people who can bond with a spirit animal. The player creates their character and selects their spirit animal before going on quests and side quests. Spirit Animals is similar to Dungeons and Dragons or World of Warcraft, but aimed at a younger audience. For instance, the player must hit animals to release them from spells as opposed to killing them. The ESRB has rated Spirit Animals E for Everyone, though the books are for children with a 6th-8th grade reading level and, subsequently, the game includes a lot of reading. LW4K recommends this game for children 10 and older with strong reading skills.
Spirit Animals helps kids practice and improve the following skills:
Arranging and coordinating materials in order to complete a task.
To be successful in Spirit Animals, the player must use their organization skills to manage their money (in-game currency) and determine how they equip and sell their character's items. The amount of money a player has determines whether they can buy weapons and armor. If the player isn't carefully tracking and deliberately earning money, they will be unable to buy better equipment. Without better equipment, the more challenging quests will be impossible to beat. Money also effects which quests a character can embark on. There are always free quests, but a player can also choose to pay money to take on a more challenging quest. The more money a quest requires, the harder it is, but the greater the potential rewards. Keeping a character's inventory organized by equipping the best equipment and selling the rest helps the player earn more money (through the sales), as well as making it easier to gain more money by taking on bigger challenges. The more organized a player stays, the more quests they will be able to complete successfully, the better equipped they will stay, and the further they will advance in the story.
Recalling and retaining information in our minds while working.
If a player wants to be successful in Spirit Animals, they will have to use their working memory skills to follow directions. Each quest has a specific goal. If a player tries to move through a level too quickly without doing what they were asked to do, they will not be able to leave the level and return to the main council. A player literally has no option other than to follow directions. It is also important to follow animal care instructions that are given during the tutorial phase of the game. A well-cared for animal provides the player bonuses in quests. If the player does not do this, one of their best assets (their spirit animal) will be under-utilized.
Spirit Animals provides two opportunities for the player to practice reading skills: in game and with the companion books. In the game, there is a great deal of reading for any cut scene or tutorial quest. The player also needs to read brief descriptions of the quests in order to pick which quest they would like to complete. The companion books also provide a great opportunity for tying the game in with reading skills. Someone who plays Spirit Animals will have "been" a main character in the story already. Reading the books will allow them to learn more about who their character is and the world they are playing in.
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