Want some information on D&D? Heard of it, but only heard scary things? Dungeons and Dragons brings so many learning and educational opportunities to the foreground.

My husband and I homeschool our son. I often worry about the fact that since my child and my friends’ children are not in public school, they never get that “working in pairs or teams” thing that was so prevalent a part of science class back in the day.

But when participating in D&D with other people, they are doing exactly that — planning, carrying out steps, completing objectives and troubleshooting with other people towards a common goal. What amazes me is how awesome this game is for their social and academic development.

Here are some of the things I have noticed:

There are generally shy kids who won’t talk to anyone they haven’t known for at least almost forever, but during D&D Club they happily introduce themselves and their characters to the group.Sometimes this group is at a kids table and consists of only kids. Sometimes it’s at the adults table and they converse with the adults exactly the same way. Social skills practice for the win!

Some children have trouble with both decision making and with voicing those decisions. Most times, taking my son out for dinner is beyond frustrating. But at game night he has to come up with a plan and tell his choice to the GM (Game Master) in a timely manner and does just fine.

Reading Skills — My son especially is a very prolific reader. He has read the Players Handbook front to back, and has memorized every detail about his favorite characters, and is now actually teaching his friends. This also encourages his friends to read the Players Handbook!

Self-education — My son is finally learning how to use an index to look things up. He wanted to find out about Mandrakes in the monster manual, so he did it by himself. This form of self-regulated learning is very important for children my son’s age.

Story Telling — Every character needs a back story after all. One of my favorite things to do is help my son and his friends create a backstory complete with history, ideals, and purpose. For example, one question I would ask is “What would your character do if faced with this monster?” or “How would your character respond in this situation?” My son fills in the gaps with little prompts from me, and then he types his story up!

Mental Math — In this game, there is a lot of adding — accumulated gold, character’s hit points, attack rolls, skill modifiers, and many more. In many situations, you have to be able to add on the go and let the GM know your score. The higher the score, the better chances you have of achieving your goal. My son’s math skill have definitely improved since he has started D&D.

Lastly, I want to add that D&D is just flat-out fun for all ages! Dungeons and Dragons is played by over 13 million people world-wide from ages 6 and up. It appeals to many players for a variety of reasons such as the storytelling, world-building, simulated combat, magic and fantasy, having fun with friends, and escapism. If you want to go on a fantastic solo adventure, HCMPL has many D&D books available through our online e-book lender at www.kyunbound.overdrive.com. You don’t even have to leave the house to go adventuring!

The Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library frequently hosts game nights, and now we are adding D&D nights to our line-up as well. We have a game for beginners starting this month. Our Technical Services Coordinator and Circulation Supervisor, Mance Chappell, is an experienced GM who can walk beginners through the basics. Please call 270-825-2680 ext. 1 and ask for Mance if you are interested.

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