University of Colorado Software Makes Kids Game for Learning

If you are a parent who is always telling your children to stop playing video games, wait until you hear this.

My Virtual Tutor is an interactive video game available for the handheld Nintendo DS system that makes the process of learning to read fun, affordable and portable. The Foundations to Literacy project, nationally recognized for its innovative and engaging educational approaches, started at the University of Colorado at Boulder after receiving a five year National Science Foundation grant in 2000 and additional funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities and the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office.

According to the National Institute for Literacy (NIL), the period in a child’s life between birth and age 5 is crucial for the development of literacy skills that will influence how the child will perform academically. Young children can be taught to read long before they start kindergarten. The NIL suggests that children be exposed to environments that support literacy skills in a manner that engages them, like songs, games, activities and puzzles.

The foundation of the proprietary software for My Virtual Tutor was developed by a team of 18 researchers at UCB’s Center for Computational Language and Education Research before being licensed to Mentor InterActive Inc. in 2006. Mentor InterActive Inc. added features to the child-friendly product capable of improving the reading comprehension and language skills of young children making it available on the extremely popular Nintendo DS platform.

So before you tell your children to put down the video games and pick up a book, make sure they are not already enriching their academic future by playing My Virtual Tutor on their Nintendo DS. 

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