Bringing stories alive is one of the best ways to make children enjoy reading. When reading aloud to my children I use different voices for each characters dialogue, and animated motions. However, this cannot truly immerse the reader into the story, because only two of their senses are being activated. Sight and Sound. To truly immerse a reader into a story, you should use as many of the senses as possible. LitWits Kits from LitWits are a great way to truly immerse a reader into a story.
I was given the opportunity to review four LitWits Kits. I chose the following four: “Heidi”, “Johnny Tremain”, “Treasure Island” and “Wonder”. During the review period, my children and I completed “Treasure Island” and began working on “Wonder”.
What are LitWits Kits?
This is not an easy question to answer, as LitWits Kits are so many things wrapped up into one story unit. LitWits Kits are digital units that use a variety of methods to make the reader more involved in the story. These methods include: “Prop Ideas”, which are props that are both symbolic and literal to the story; “Hands-On Fun” which are activities related to the story; “BookBites” which allows the reader to “taste the story” by tasting foods that are relevant to the story; and “Takeaways” which are the topics or lessons that can be taught in the story.
This basic overview still does not help you to understand the truly immersive experience that the reader has when using the LitWits Kits. To help you truly understand it, I am going to go into depth with the activities that my children completed through the use of LitWits Kits. While our experiences are limited to the “Treasure Island” LitWits Kits, each of the kits that I was given are very similar in nature. Each of them contains the use of props, hands-on activities, “BookBites”, etc.
All three of my children, ages 9-12, took part in this review.
The first type of activity was that of props. The props used for the story should show the reader what something was like or should be symbolic of a specific idea. For our props we used the following items: treasure chests, pirate ships, maps, and bottles. We placed them in a white boat shelf that I had.
“Hands-On Fun” provided us with a wide variety of activities. We made a map of Treasure Island, we practiced tying nautical knots, made our own treasure chests, and we role-played in that they acted like characters from the story but in situations that could occur today.
“BookBites” allowed my children to experience the foods that are prominent in the story. Examples that we experienced were apples, cheese, biscuits, and raisins. While they had previously experienced all these foods, we wanted to experience them in connection with the story.
“Takeaways” provided my children with deeper understandings of the overall themes. For “Treasure Island” had three overall themes. They were “Good Guys and Bad Guys”, “Real Value”, and “The Pirate Life”.
“Good Guys and Bad Guys” had us exploring the theme that even though the characters may have behaved similarly in the story by stealing and killing, had similar goals, but there were characteristics that sat them apart. This led us to some very serious moral discussions, and it was interesting to see how my children thought about these discussions.
“Real Value” provided us with even more conversations. We discussed items that we valued. We discussed how items could have different types of value such as sentimental and financial.
We filled our treasure chests with items that held sentimental value to us. My daughter filled hers with medals she has won and her homerun softball.
“The Pirate Life” had us exploring real-life pirates like Sir Frances Drake. We used the Q-Files website to investigate what a pirate’s life would have been like aboard a ship. We listened to sea shanties.
We loved LitWits Kits. The experiences that my children were provided with really helped them to connect with the characters and the story. I loved that the activities provided them with a variety of ways to interact with the story, using a variety of learning styles.
We look forward to using the other kits that we have, and purchasing other kits from their wide array of choices. If you like to view a sample LitWits Kit click the image below.
Each LitWits Kits is $18, with the exception of “Wonder” which is $9 because it is a mini-kit.
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