Barbarians for Literacy

February 25, 2008

Thor3He’s just a little bit crazy, but in a good way.

His name is Hercules Invictus (really, it is) and he goes to schools and libraries, dressed like something out of a movie, and has various mythic activities that encourage children in several positive ways. His goals are to encourage literacy, gain an interest in history, help them get leadership and socialization skills, and stay fit.

In his “Mythic RPG” program, he plays role playing games with kids at a local library. Here is a short explanation of his “Mythic RPG” program from his web site:

Role Playing Games, or RPGs, allow players to experience the excitement of being larger-than-life heroes adventuring in a variety of imaginative settings. More versatile and interactive than video games, RPGs encourage reading, socialization and teamwork as players cooperate in overcoming obstacles and solving puzzles.

Our first and most successful literacy program, the Mythic RPG, was launched in 2005 to encourage kids to read more for recreation and to increase their visits to our local library.

We’ve been told that the kids in our Mythic RPG program are forming more friendships, are displaying leadership skills (organizing their own games and teaching their friends to play) and are demonstrating great passion for their shared hobby.

Thor2

In his Mythic Literacy program, the RPG game playing is supplemented with creative writing and making artwork. The goal is to get kids really excited about something historical and have them want to read up on the stuff on their own. “Reading equals homework” for most kids, and Hercules helps overcome that.

His web sites states it this way:

Herc1 Participants in our Mythic RPG program earn points for creative writing and game related art work. They also earn points for writing reports on the books they have read that relate to their adventures. As an added bonus, kids playing the Mythic RPG also develop their math skills and become more interested in history and literature. Parents are happy that their kids are having fun while demonstrating a greater love of learning.

Hercules Invictus’ goal is to make learning fun, exciting and very accessible.

In a recent interview, Hercules was asked what Parents think of all this:

Thor: They love it. We get lots of positive feedback and a fair amount of parental involvement. We welcome and encourage this. The kids get points for creative writing and game related art work. They also get points for writing reports on the books they have read that relate to their adventures. Kids develop their math skills and become interested in history and literature. Parents are happy that their kids love learning. We’ve also been told that the kids are forming more friendships, are displaying leadership skills (organizing their own games and teaching their friends to play) and are demonstrating passion for their shared hobby. Some kids are now playing RPGs with their parents and siblings. One kid introduced the game to his grandma.

Hercules Invictus is a US government registered 501c3 charity.

He needs more books to give away to kids during these events.

I’ve approved Hercules as a charity on BookMooch because I love the idea; it’s a very creative way to get kids interested in books, and the wonderful worlds you can build in your head.

If you like what he’s doing, please give BookMooch charity points to Hercules.

You can contact Hercules via his BookMooch account.

11 Responses to “Barbarians for Literacy”

  1. Aramada said

    I think this is wonderful!! When I was growing up, there was a huge religious right back-lash against role playing games, especially Dungeons & Dragons. “Oh, it’s of the devil! It’ll make your kids into satan worshipers! They’ll do drugs and drink and kill people!” Blah, blah, blah! I’m DELIGHTED to see someone highlighting all of the positive aspects of role playing, debunking the crazy notions and putting it to some really good use. Carry on Hercules!!

  2. Bart said

    What a great idea! Off to charity some points now.

  3. Hercules40 said

    Hey,

    My BM account handle is Hercules! Of course I’ll give him some points, as I used to do Role Playing– It is Mind Expanding, and WAY Better than Video Games.

    Hooray for Hercules!

  4. Thanks to all the wonderful BookMoochers who have been donating their hard-won points to Hercules Invictus.

    Our Mythic RPG, DM Academy and Regional Folklore Society have received a tremendous boost because of your generosity. There will be many happy campers in the days ahead thanks to BookMooch!

    I’ll be thanking you all publicly on our website later this week.

    Thanks again!

    Hercules Invictus
    aka Thor the Barbarian

  5. Katie said

    Not entirely my cup of tea as I don’t like reading SF or fantasy books, but hey… anything to keep children off the streets and get them reading! Good on you.

  6. Jonathan said

    Good on ya, Thor & crew! I love seeing kids getting so excited about learning! Also, I’m a gamer myself, and I certainly appreciate seeing RPGs brought into a more positive light than they have been in the past.

  7. Zac said

    A roleplayer using his art for the benefit of children. Totally fantastic.

    He’ll get something from me too.

  8. Sunny said

    Thor- I think this is **FANTASTIC**!!!! As soon as I get extra points, they are hearding you way. Do you guys travel w/ this?? If so, let me know if your ever in the area & I’d be more than willing to help out(because who doesnt love wearing costumes and role-playing???I DO!).
    Awesome job, bro.
    Namaste

  9. Thank you fellow BookMoochers for your heartfelt generosity (in points and added goodies), your warm wishes and your supportive words.

    Thanks to your donations we’ve been able to increase the range and frequency of our programs over the next couple of months.

    In addition to the activities listed on our website, we’ll be hosting two Narnia themed literacy events and a Comic Book day (with the Hawley Public Library) between now and the end of May.

    Thanks again so very, very much! We feel blessed and are deeply touched by your kindness.

    Hercules Invictus
    aka Thor the Barbarian

  10. Growing up in Israel in the 80’s we studied English in school from 4th grade. However it got an early boost mostly from geeky activities such as text based adventure games, comic books and especially AD&D, where I learned a bunch very useful words such as “initiative”, “constitution” and “dexterity”, not to mention “ghoul” and “basilisk”.

  11. Joanna Collie said

    Fantastic! I used to do a lot of RPGing as a kid, and always reckoned it helped me top history tests – nothing like doing research for your own purposes to teach you other things.
    Hercules Invictus, you truly are a god among men. Charity points are on their way to you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: