Ready Player One

Meeting Ernest Cline at an Armada book signing.
Meeting Ernest Cline at an Armada book signing.
Great on so many levels!

Update 9/24/15 Meeting Ernest Cline during his Armada book tour was one of the cool highlights of my summer. He spoke to the audience for over an hour recalling the inspirations of his youth growing up in Ohio. It was inspiring to hear him explain how he got to where he is now. I have filled in a few missing chapters below, so take a look and see if any of these additions can help you!
Last year as we were updating our Senior Studies in Contemporary Literature course one of my colleagues suggested Ready Player One by Earnest Cline. Being a child of the 80’s, I read it and LOVED it, but I still wasn’t convinced my students would feel the same way. All the 80’s references were great, but I wasn’t sure my students would enjoy the book as much as I did without the same sense of nostalgia. So I sought a second opinion. I asked a female colleague, who wasn’t a gamer to give the book a chance. She loved it. Then I asked the school librarian (not a child of the 80’s, (she was younger) and not a gamer.) She also loved the book. That was enough for me, I was able to purchase enough books for two classes.

This novel has been the most rewarding novel I have been able to teach since Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend. Actually it has been the most rewarding novel to teach for many reasons.
1. Love – My students love this book. Granted not all of them do, but I have had more students tell me that this is the best book they have ever had to read for school than ever before.
2. Research – This book has excited my students to the point of independent research. We have created a community on google+ to share information on the many 80’s references. Many pdf’s, youtube videos, and postings have helped bring my students back to the 80’s.
3. Fun – On Fridays, we play Atari. I have hooked up my old Atari 2600 to a projector and the class tries to replicate some of the challenges listed in the book. Adventure, 30,000 pts on Joust, Swordquest, etc. If they succeed they are given a free homework coupon.
4. Projects – The book provides unlimited possibilities for projects. Some of the themes deal with the future of education, the future of our planet, and even the future of gaming and social media. I even have students who are creating their own flash based video game based on the novel.
5. Imagination – Maybe the best thing about teaching this novel is that there is no movie yet. I know they have plans for one, but right now there is no movie for my class to turn to. (Although I have found that showing the movie Wargames makes for a good introduction.) Because of this, more students have been hooked on the book and they are using their imagination to interpret what they are reading. Sadly, imagination has become an endangered species in the classroom today, but this novel inspires imagination and conquers reading apathy like no other book I’ve taught.

So as you can tell, I highly recommend this book. Much like my I Am Legend lesson plans (which have become very popular) I have attached a few reading/discussion guides. Too many of these can take away the enjoyment of the novel.

Ready Player One Chapters 2-3
Ready Player One Chapters 4-6
RPO Chapters 7-9
RPO Chapter 12
RPO Chapters 13-15
RPO Chapters 16-19
RPO Chapters 20-22
RPO Chapters 25-27
RPO Chapters 28-30
RPO Chapters 32-34
RPO Chapters 36-39
Please comment below if you are interested in more.
For another good source I suggest you visit this site created by students at Western Illinois University.

Update! Here is a list of projects.
RP1 Projects
And here is a picture of some of the projects completed. These include Anorak’s Alamanc, Contact Cards, A final battle diorama, and this Atari is constructed from cardboard!
rp1caseThe Shogun Warrior is mine… a treasured birthday gift from my childhood.