We have partnered with the National Literacy Trust to create this resource of video games that encourage and enable reading and writing skills.
The National Literacy Trust is a charity dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of children and young people who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life.
Video games have significant benefits for children who are reluctant or struggling readers. They give them access to stories through interaction and world-building which they may not have been able to read in print. Video games also have benefits for families where parents may not be confident readers, meaning that sharing stories as a family is still accessible to all. The rise of video games on smartphones and tablets, as well as more affordable game consoles, has made the sharing of interactive stories easier.
There are different ways that video games create this kind of collateral reading and aid literacy:
- Reading In Games: Video games offer all sorts of reading at all levels. This can be from simple narrative in a game like Florence to dialogue in a game like Mutazione or even just identifying useful items and game mechanics with in-game descriptions in a game like Zelda Breath of the Wild. Then there are games like Thousand Threads that help players think about the power and the consequence of words.
- Reading Around Games: Video games create worlds that often spawn secondary texts. This can be official novels that expand the world or guidebooks that offer instructions and help. Knights and Bikes, for example, has spin-off books, a cartoon series and recipes to read.
- Routes Into Books: Many popular book series, such as Beast Quest, offer a range of video games as an easy first step into those worlds that lead to then reading the books themselves.
- Communication Around Games: As well as reading, games encourage all sorts of creative output. This can be to contribute to the many online forums and message boards to talk about the game. This can also be to write fan fiction after being inspired by a game world or character. The Sims, for example, has an avid community writing and creating all kinds of content online.
This list includes 160 games from the last 32 years, with 2,929 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to get children reading.