New research has highlighted the positive impact playing video games can have on young people’s literacy.
According to the National Literacy Trust, an independent UK charity focused on giving disadvantaged children reading and writing skills, 79% of young people who play video games read game-related materials such as reviews and books, and 63% write game-related materials including scripts and advice to other players.
Its findings were based on a survey of over 4,600 11-16-year-olds between November and December 2019.
73% of reluctant readers said playing games helped them feel part of a story, while 65% said games helped them imagine being someone else.
Potential benefits of video games for literacy are strongest for boys and reluctant readers, the research found.
In a separate National Literacy Trust survey of 826 parents of 11-18-year-olds between May and early June 2020, 60% of parents said communicating with friends via video games during lockdown had aided their child’s mental wellbeing.
To promote young people’s literacy though games, the National Literacy Trust, UK games industry trade association Ukie, and publisher Penguin Random House have compiled a range of activities and resources for children and parents.
These include leading games industry figures explaining how vital literacy is to their jobs, and how reading and writing can provide young people with a path into the industry, plus recommended reading and playing lists.
“We know that video games are a part of everyday life for so many children, young people and families across the UK, so it is exciting to uncover the opportunities that video game playing can provide for young people to engage in reading, stimulate creativity through writing, enhance communication with friends and family, and support empathy and wellbeing,” said National Literacy Trust chief executive Jonathan Douglas.
“Covid-19 has significantly disrupted young people’s literacy and learning in recent months, and we want to ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to identifying new and innovative ways to support children’s literacy when they return to school in September.
“Through our partnership with Ukie and Penguin Random House Children’s, we hope to be able to provide families and schools with the resources and tools they need to best harness the benefits of video games for young people’s literacy.”