A recent article published in Current Biology found that children with
dyslexia who played action video games for just 12 hours significantly improved their
reading abilities! Further, they found that the effect was still present two months later, even though the kids didn't play any more games.
We're not suggesting to plug every struggling reader into a Wii, Play Station or Xbox just yet, but the results from the study were very interesting.
The game the children played was Rayman Raving Rabbids made for the Nintendo Wii by Ubisoft. No word yet on the effect of Minecraft or Halo on reading.
Could Rabbids Help?
Abstract/Summary (provided by the study authors):
Learning to read is extremely difficult for about 10% of children; they are affected by a neurodevelopmental disorder called dyslexia. The neurocognitive causes of dyslexia are still hotly debated. Dyslexia remediation is far from being fully achieved, and the current treatments demand high levels of resources. Here, we demonstrate that only 12 hours of playing action video games—not involving any direct phonological or orthographic training—drastically improve the reading abilities of children with dyslexia. We tested reading, phonological, and attentional skills in two matched groups of children with dyslexia before and after they played action or nonaction video games for nine sessions of 80 min per day.
We found that only playing action video games improved children’s reading speed, without any cost in accuracy, more so than 1 year of spontaneous reading development and more than or equal to highly demanding traditional reading treatments. Attentional skills also improved during action video game training. It has been demonstrated that action video games efficiently improve attention abilities; our results showed that this attention improvement can directly translate into better reading abilities, providing a new, fast, fun remediation of dyslexia that has theoretical relevance in unveiling the causal role of attention in reading acquisition.
Researchers: Sandro Franceschini, Simone Gori, Milena Ruffino, Simona Viola, Massimo Molteni, Andrea Facoetti
Source: Current Biology, Volume 23, Issue 6, 462-466, 28 February 2013
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Photo Credit: Nintendo Wii. (Rayman Raving Rabbids by Ubisoft).