UK’s National Literacy Trust: video games improve literacy

The UK’s National Literacy Trust has published a new study examining the impact of video games on young people. The research shows that games often improve literacy, creativity, empathy, as well as mental wellbeing.

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As part of the study, researchers interviewed 4,600 young people aged 11 to 16 across the UK. 96% of the boys surveyed are active players, while among girls, 65% are fond of games.

Key findings

  • 79% of gamers read text materials related to games. For 40% of those surveyed, these are texts and communications within the games themselves, but some also read blogs and reviews (31%), books (22%) and fan fiction (19%);
  • 73% of those surveyed prefer games to books because games let them feel like they are a part of the story;
  • 35% of the respondents admitted that games helped them read more and better understand texts. This trend is especially strong in boys;
  • the study also found that gaming motivates young audiences to explore their own creativity. 63% of the surveyed gamers write about games in one way or another – be it video game scripts (28%), fan fiction (11%) or reviews (8%);
  • more than half of young gamers also want to try themselves as game writers or designers in the future, and about a third of those surveyed would like to write and read more about games at school.

The National Literacy Trust also believes that games can help young people make new friends and build social connections (including in real life). This is facilitated by the fact that most of the respondents in one way or another discuss games with friends.

Young people who like video games also develop empathy.  65% of the respondents admitted that games help them feel what it’s like to be someone else.

“We know that video games are a part of everyday life for so many children, young people and families across the UK,” says Jonathan Douglas, chief executive of the National Literacy Trust. “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.”

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