The National Literacy Trust, a UK-based nonprofit organization that aims to increase children’s literacy skills, has teamed up with book publisher Penguin Random House Children’s and UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) to conduct research on the relationship between playing video games and literacy engagement in children. The study will focus on secondary school children—aged between 11 and 16—across the UK.
The National Literacy Trust first set out to conduct this research because of the amount of reading children do when playing video games, whether it be through reading in-game text or using the internet to find information on the games they play. In the present day, this digital reading makes up a significant portion of children’s reading habits, in comparison to physical texts. As such, the National Literacy Trust aims to figure out how interactive entertainment relates to children’s reading and writing abilities. Taking the lead on the project, the National Literacy Trust will create the guiding questions of the study, following advice from figures from both the games and book publishing industries.
In a statement, the National Trust Literacy chief executive Jonathan Douglas acknowledged that video games provide youth “with exciting opportunities to become part of a story and to read more widely,” which he argues—along with reading any text—“can increase their reading engagement and attainment” regardless of their interests. He goes onto say that the nonprofit is “keen” to begin studying this subject.
Penguin Random House Children’s is just as optimistic, as managing director Francesca Dow believes that the companies “can have a positive impact in supporting literacy, sparking imaginations, and bringing stories to life for children everywhere” through this partnership.
UKIE CEO Dr. Jo Twist OBE hopes this partnership and research “will provide valuable evidence to inform educators, caregivers, and others to help understand how we can shape literacy engagement through something young people already find hugely compelling.”
The results of their preliminary research is set to release in spring 2020, so the involved parties can use this data moving forward with their partnership to explore different ways that video games can be utilized to increase and support children’s literacy, while also gathering funds to continue researching this connection in more depth.