Learning to Read Through Video Games
By: Marcus J. Hopkins September 12th, 2022
The Appalachian Learning Initiative would like to celebrate National Video Game 2022 by reminding readers that video games—particularly role-playing and strategy video games—are an excellent way to learn how to read and build a deep love for reading.
My love for reading was first inspired by my mother, who read to me every day and encouraged me to read throughout my childhood. But, reading truly became a passion of mine when I first began to play video games.
Growing up at the beginning of the home video gaming era allowed me the opportunity to experience stories being told in a visual way and quite literally at my fingertips. Games like those in the Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy series allowed me to experience fantastical worlds and become the hero that saves kingdoms. More importantly, they were text-heavy games that required me to talk to every person in that world to figure out where I was supposed to go and what I was supposed to do next.
Through these games, I was able to increase my vocabulary, develop my reading comprehension skills, and better understand how to express complex ideas on my own. Many of my earliest examples of creative writing were based upon the types of storylines, scenarios, and settings I experienced through the games whose cover art you see in the images at the top of this post.
Video games have had a profound impact on my love of reading, and more recent research indicates that properly designed video games can enhance reading skills over time, particularly in young children (Pasqualotto, et al, 2022).
This National Video Game Day, I would like to invite you to explore some of the great video games listed above, many of which are available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation consoles, and iOS/Android mobile devices.
Pasqualotto, A., Altarelli, I., De Angeli, A. et al. Enhancing reading skills through a video game mixing action mechanics and cognitive training. Nat Hum Behav, 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41562-021-01254-x