Games benefiting students with dyslexia?

A study by researchers at University of Padua & E Medea Scientific Institute has reported “that only 12 hr of playing action video games—not involving any direct phonological or orthographic training—drastically improve the reading abilities of children with dyslexia” … and goes onto claim “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.”.

This study looked at 20 children with dyslexia, and split those into two groups of 10, (one playing Action video games, one group non-action video games). The groups did not initially differ on reading and attentional measurements before. After exposure to the video games, those playing the action video games demonstrated a ” increased reading speed without a cost in accuracy”. Two months later 6 of the children from the AVG group were assessed and the effect appeared to be long-lasting!

Obviously this is a very small study and it would be interesting to apply this method to a much larger group with a control group monitored undertaking standard phonological or orthographic training (however I’m not entirely sure how the ethical issues would be dealt with there ) .. still this is exciting news and demonstrated the potential that games have not only in engaging students but supporting learning for students with disability.

The full study can be found on the SciVerse database

Franceschini,S., Gori, S., Ruffino, M., Viola, S,. Molteni, M. & Facoetti, A. (2013). Action Video Games Make Dyslexic Children Read Better. Current Biology (Corrected Proof, citation details still to be confirmed)

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