Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Literature and D&D and Kids

Here's a simple thesis:

Table top gaming is a literary activity
Reading develops cognitive ability
If you want your kids to play D&D, encourage them to read

There's a lot of folks reading classic fantasy in the OSR these days - there's a whole Appendix N revival movement happening.  Gary Gygax, Tom Moldvay - those guys were well read!  Chances are, if you're playing classic D&D or AD&D, you've read your share of fantasy and science fiction books too.  The virtual mind space we create in our imaginations during a table top gaming session is  like envisioning a fantastic setting while reading.  Viewing a video game world through a monitor is like watching television.

There are brain studies online that illustrate the connection between early reading and later cognitive ability.  Time Magazine just had an article how the multi media generation is teaching themselves low attention span behavior through multi tasking across different sensory inputs at the same time - watching TV while texting - for instance.  The scary thing is all this passive reception of media is changing how people's brains are wired and reducing the ability to focus and concentrate.

If you're a parent and a table top gamer, wouldn't you love it if your kids took up the hobby once they were old enough?  I'm doing my part to get all the neighborhood boys entrenched in our D&D group - I need someone to DM for me when I'm a cranky old guy!

Get your kids to turn off the TV, unplug the computer, put down the iPod touch, pick up a book - this is common sense type advice.   Read out loud to the younger kids, and help your school age kids develop a love for reading on their own.  It'll make them smarter, improve their school work, wire their brains so they can concentrate, and might just get them interested in your D&D game, too.


  1. When I talk about these things, people have told me that i am going to turn my kid into a social outcast. What should I say to that?

  2. You turned out okay, right? I hope. I don't know you personally, and all that...

    But yeah, I've had to oocasionally resort to the "educated geeks tend to get paid well" line.

    It's bizarre there's a stigma with table top games (that actually develop imagination) and not with soporific video games.

  3. Please see my post here
    I think that we have a very similar take on reading and gaming.