Blog Post

Kindle Fire and Choose Your Own Adventure Books


I recently had the opportunity to explore a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book on the Kindle Fire, and I have to say I think would be a fantastically motivating reading experience for K-12 students!  You begin reading on the Kindle like any other e-reader (or book, for that matter), but soon you come to a choice in the text and your own decision moves the protagonist and the story forward in one of several different ways.  Many of the decisions you make can be represented by actual images within the text; for example, you might be on a ship at sea, and you select where you want to go next by clicking on the part of the ship's image you wish to explore next.  

I wonder if anyone has done some research into the effects on student engagement (and possibly comprehension and retention?) that this kind of immersive, self-directed and tactile mode of reading might have?  Even if you haven't done research into it, what other ways to utilize this resource do you see?  I am thinking upper elementary, middle and high school students might greatly enjoy creating their own "Choose Your Own Adventure" type short stories, or better yet, collaborating with their peers to complete an entire book!  I am also thinking you might make something similar as a student (or teacher) generated interactive collection of information to teach academic content as well.  Any ideas are welcome!


Here is an example of this kind of book, click on "Look Inside!" to see what I am talking about.





Does only kindle fire do think or also some e ink kindles? I have an e ink one, generation 2, so still had audio. Will the files play on that? Because e ink is better for the eyes, more like a printed book than a laptop or toy, and there are perhaps fewer overstimulating distractions. Also is this app compatible with any cheap tablet made for kids, like leap pad?



I am not certain, as typically you have to select the equivalent of a hyperlink to take you to the next page when you make a choice in the book.  I was under the impression basic Kindle devices just had buttons on the bottom of the device you push to move forward or backward in the book.  I did some more research on kindle books in general though, and it appears there is also what is called "Active Fiction" on the Kindle, where you read a "Choose Your Own Adventure" type book, and then the author sees aggregate data about what the majority of readers choose to do...and then writes the next book in the series based on that!  I have to say I love this idea, it takes the immersion of reading to a whole new level.  In addition, student writers themselves could do this, and keep writing based on what their peers primarily seem to choose in their stories.  

There are even these kinds of books that also seem almost like a game: 

Product Description

Fortune and glory or death? Your decisions make the difference in Wizard's Choice, a text-based adventure for Kindle. 

Stay alive, manage your spell power, find treasure, and smite evil. Wizard's Choice is an adventure that will engross you in a storyline while allowing you to make the decisions that will determine your fate. Decisions you make early in the game will affect what happens to you and the choices you get to make later in the game. 

Wizards Choice will track your health, manna, gold, and morale, so you should take care to manage each well. Your score and rank will be shown at the end, and you can replay as many times as you like to try and improve your rank and score.

So what will it be? Glory? Fortune? Death? (two out of three, perhaps?) Try making the Wizard's Choice today!

Notice the third paragraph talks about tracking various traits as well as having a final score.  Any thoughts on how this may or may not be a good thing to add into reading?




I was really excited to see your post and learn that choose your own adventure books had made their way to kindle, and was even more excited to see that more interactive and visual versions of this concept were being released. 

While I have not personally done research the the educational/student engagement benefits, but I have something that might interst you. Particually, this might be helpful when brainstorming ways to exploit this concept when working with high-school age student. 

As part of a class project (The class was "Design as Performance;" I study self-generative works, design, and performance), my collegues created a "choose your own adventure" video project. Esseintially, they created a storyline with multiple plot points and multiple endings. They then filmed each of these "segements" then used tumblr to allow the class to choose which direction they wanted the performace to go. Audience members were able to decide as a whole what to watch next, and with each leg of the video more engaged and entertained. In fact, once the audience reached the end, everyone demanded that we start over and explore all of the other options. 

I've posted the link to the Tumblr site here

I think a project like this would be great for arts students of all kinds. This would be a great final project for students studying video editing, coding, creative writing, performance, film, etc. 

Again, while I can't offer you any rock soild eveidence that activities like this increase student engagement and understanding, but I can for sure tell you it increased audience involvement and engagement. 

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions or want to bounce around any ideas.