GRU professors use DVDs, video games to improve students' vocabulary

GRU professors create DVDs, video games to improve students' vocabulary

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - For two Georgia Regents University professors, video games and movies have become a way to help students improve their reading skills.

"Expand that child's mental range, mental abilities and capabilities," explains Project Director Dr. Walter Evans. "It's the ground level for all learning."

The actual reading of words isn't what Evans and Co-Project Director Dr. Paulette Harris are looking to improve however.

Instead, it's the students' vocabulary skills.

"We want them to be able to speak well enough that they are able to talk to a variety of individuals of different ages and grade levels," says Harris. "At the same time, to be able to understand that which is being spoken to them."

The DVD was used with over 450 Richmond Co. Kindergarten students, and the project has brought in results not even the professors expected: a 20% jump in average vocabulary scores.

"Tremendous. Unbelievable," Harris describes. "We were amazed as was the school system."

The DVD uses nursery rhymes to help teach the students. The professors say the rhymes' wordplay is key.

"They are, in fact, just mesmerized by the language that's out there that they're going to be able to grow and use," says Harris.

Now, the professors are expanding their project from DVDs to computer games.

They hope by branching out they will reach a wider range of students.

"People who are online are the kind of people who have a lot of books in the home and read to their kids," says Evans. "The DVDs are designed more for homes where there are very few books."

They hope to enrich the education of all students, and it all starts by pressing play.