Every Move Counts
A service-learning course in which students study the academic and social benefits of chess for children while teaching the game in public schools


This nationally unique service-learning course (UH 333) examines progressive education reform efforts and investigates the educational and social benefits chess holds for children.  In addition to reading about these topics and discussing them in class, students develop lesson plans and spend at least two hours each week teaching chess to children in public schools.

Extensive educational research shows chess improves math and reasoning abilities, reading and English scores, critical thinking and concentration skills, general intelligence, self-esteem and self control.  In academically at-risk children, additional benefits often include increased motivation and school attendance, better behavior and improved self control. Since gender, ethnic background and socioeconomic status are irrelevant to the game, chess brings together diverse groups of children, helping them build friendships they might not have formed otherwise.

Each semester, UA students previously involved in the program return as “lead volunteers” or “course facilitators,” earning independent-study credit. This structure facilitates expansion of Every Move Counts and gives students an ownership stake in the initiative.

For more information about Every Move Counts, read an article in the UA Service-Learning magazine or contact Merrill Flowers at merrill.flowers@ua.edu/205-348-6494.

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