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UK survey finds positive links between playing games and literacy

New research published by the National Literacy Trust indicates video games can have a positive impact on the literacy, creativity, and wellbeing of young people.

New research published by the National Literacy Trust indicates video games can have a positive impact on the literacy, creativity, and wellbeing of young people. 

A survey of 4,626 young people aged 11-16 in the UK found that games can often provide children with a route into reading and writing, with 79 percent of respondents explaining they regularly read game-related materials including in-game text, reviews, blogs, books, and fan fiction. 

Meanwhile. 63 percent of young people said that playing games has encouraged them to pursue writing, with many dabbling in penning their own video game scripts, walkthroughs and advice, fan fiction, and blogs.  Additionally, 58 percent of those surveyed expressed an in writing or designing games in the future.

"The benefits of playing video games for young people’s literacy were found to be strongest for boys and reluctant readers," reads the report. "Boys are much more likely to play video games than girls (96% vs 65%) and nearly twice as many boys than girls said they chatted with family and friends as part of playing a video game during lockdown (71% vs 40%). 

"Video games were also found to be effective at engaging reluctant readers with stories, as 3 in 4 (73%) young people who don’t enjoy reading say playing video games helps them feel more part of a story than reading a book-based text."

Dr Jo Twist, chief exec of UK games industry trade body Ukie, said the research highlights the educational value games can bring to the lives of young people by sparking interest and inspiring creativity. 

“This excellent research shows both the benefits of games on children’s literacy and how valuable a part they are to young people’s lives. Games are a fantastic way to inspire creativity, encourage exploration of worlds and characters, and to get young people talking with friends or family. We look forward to working with our partners to build on this work to show the positive impact of games as a medium."

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