Paths Leading To Where 2 – In Children’s books – Skills That Can Be Learnt

Maze Puzzles

Maze puzzles are great fun for children but parents/guardians and teacher like them too for teaching children very important skills. According to Amanda Mathews of North Shore Pediatric Therapy USA there are many skills to be learnt:

  • Problem solving:  Mazes help your child to work on his executive functioning skills, such as planning and brainstorming various strategies (e.g. starting from the beginning of the maze or working backwards from the end of maze).
  • Fine motor control:  Mazes require your child to control his pencil through the maze without hitting the black lines. This means that he must take his time rather than rushing, in order to have greater success.  Progress can be observed as your child bumps into the black lines less and less as he gains greater control of his writing utensil.  Children use fine motor control in order to produce correct letter formation and legible handwriting.
  • Visual motor:  Mazes require your child to use his eyes to scan the worksheet in order to find possible solutions.  Scanning is a great skill used for reading and writing, as it is important to scan from the left side of the paper to the right side.
  • Grading of an activity:  Mazes can be broken down into different steps.  For instance, first have your child start by moving his finger, next a pencil, then a marker through the maze.  This helps your child to solve the same maze three times consecutively, which allows the skill to sink-in better.
  • Confidence:  Mazes are perfect fine motor activities to help boost your child’s confidence.  Have your child begin with a simple maze to provide immediate success, and then have him work towards completing mazes of increased difficulty.

Choose Your Own Path/Adventure/ Puzzle Type Books

Back in the ’90s, I sold Usborne Books at ‘Book Parties’, and one of the benefits of doing this was getting free books for my own children. Some of the books my children really enjoyed were when they got to make their own choices in what was to happen next; such as the one below…

‘The Puzzle Adventure book series from Usborne Publishing Ltd was first created in 1984 with the release of Escape from Blood Castle. The first three volumes of the series were originally released as “Usborne Solve It Yourself”. Each book contains a vividly illustrated story, with a plot-related puzzle to solve on each double page.

The series’s success inspired the creation of three related series: Advanced Puzzle Adventures, Young Puzzle Adventures and Science Puzzle Adventures.

Many of the Puzzle Adventures and Young Puzzle Adventures series have been re-released over the past few years.’

Usborne author Sam Taplin reminisces about her childhood memories of these kind of books.

‘I once got the same book for Christmas two years in a row – and I couldn’t have been happier when I unwrapped the second one because I’d practically destroyed the first by reading it so much. The object of my fascination was a “choose your own story” gamebook, and it’s hard to express quite how thrilling I found it. I loved all kinds of stories, but here was a story where I wasn’t just reading about something amazing – I was right there in the middle of it! I could choose what to do, where to go, whether to fight the goblin or run away…

There was something magical to me about this – it looked just like other books, but hidden inside it was a whole world I could step into and lose myself in. I spent many a long summer’s afternoon sitting with my dice and my increasingly battered paperback, going on extraordinary adventures.’

Choose Your Own Adventure, or Secret Path Books is a series of children’s gamebooks where each story is written from a second-person point of view, with the reader assuming the role of the protagonist and making choices that determine the main character’s actions and the plot’s outcome. The series was based upon a concept created by Edward Packard and originally published by Constance Cappel’s and R. A. Montgomery‘s Vermont Crossroads Press as the “Adventures of You” series, starting with Packard’s Sugarcane Island in 1976.[1]

Choose Your Own Adventure, as published by Bantam Books, was one of the most popular children’s series during the 1980s and 1990s, selling more than 250 million copies between 1979 and 1998.[2] When Bantam, now owned by Random House, allowed the Choose Your Own Adventure trademark to lapse, the series was relaunched by Chooseco, which now owns the trademark. Chooseco does not reissue titles by Packard, who has started his own imprint, U-Ventures.[3]

In June 2018, Z-Man Games issued a licensed co-operative board game called Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger inspired by R. A. Montgomery’s book in the series.[4][5]

On January 11, 2019, Chooseco initiated a trademark infringement legal challenge against Netflix for the film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.[6][7] Netflix chose to settle the suit in November 2020.[8]‘

Sarah Laskow writing for Atlas Obscura in 2017 fondly remembers the @Choose Your Own Adventure Books’…

‘Reading a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book can feel like being lost in a maze and running through twists and turns only to find dead ends, switchbacks, and disappointment. In the books—for those not familiar with them—you read until you come to a decision point, which prompts you to flip to another page, backward or forward. The early books in the series, which began in 1979, have dozens of endings, reached through branching storylines so complex that that trying to keep track of your path can seem hopeless—no matter how many fingers you stick into the book in order to find your way back to the key, fateful choice. You might end up back at an early fork again, surprised at how far you traveled only to reemerge at a simple decision, weighted with consequences that you couldn’t have imagined at the beginning.

The last installment of the original “Choose Your Own Adventure” series came out in 1998, but since 2004, Chooseco, founded by one of the series’ original authors, R.A. Montgomery, has been republishing classic volumes, as well as new riffs on the form of interactive fiction that seemed ubiquitous in the 1980s and ’90s. The new editions also carry an additional feature—maps of the hidden structure of each book.’

What Skills Children Learn From These Type Of Books

Choose Your Own Adventure helps on-level and reluctant readers think beyond literal comprehension to make connections, use information to make decisions, understand consequences, and evaluate characters and their motivations

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