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New research shows video games improve literacy

35% of the respondents said that playing games made them better readers

A new study by the UK's National Literacy Trust linked video games to improved literacy, creativity, positive communication, empathy and mental wellbeing in young people.

According to this survey, 79% of young people who play video games also read material related to the medium. This includes in-game communications for 40% of the respondents, reviews and blogs for 31%, books for 22%, and fan fiction for 19%.

35% of the respondents also said that playing games made them better readers. This link between gaming and improved literacy was particularly strong for boys and "reluctant readers," the study added.

Games seem to be a good way to engage reluctant readers with stories, with 73% of the respondents who don't like to read saying that playing games helps them feel "more part of a story" than reading a book.

Video games also improve young people's creativity through writing, the research found. 63% of young people playing games also write about them. That includes video game scripts for 28% of them, advice to help others for 22% of them, fan fiction for 11%, and blogs or reviews for 8%.

58% of the respondents expressed an interest in writing or designing games, while 31% said they would like to read and write more about games in school.

An increased empathy was also among the benefits highlighted by the study, with 65% of the respondents saying that playing games help them imagine being someone else.

Games as a medium is more discussed than books among young people, with 76% of the respondents saying they talk about what they play with their friends, versus only 29% discussing the books they read. The studio also highlighted a link between playing games and an ability to build social connections both online and in real life.

Finally, video games have been a good way to support young people's mental wellbeing during lockdown, the study showed. 56% of parents said their child talked about games during that period, and 60% believed that this communication was helpful in maintaining their child's mental wellbeing.

The National Literacy Trust, a charity focused on improving literacy in disadvantaged communities, surveyed 4,626 children aged 11 to 16 in the UK for this study.

In addition to the research, the charity partnered with Ukie and Penguin Random House Children's to gather resources and activities around video games for young people.

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Marie Dealessandri avatar
Marie Dealessandri: Marie joined in 2019 to head its Academy section. A journalist since 2012, she started in games in 2016. She can be found (rarely) tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate and the Dead Cells soundtrack. GI resident Moomins expert.
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