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Playing Video Games Can Actually Help Improve Your Reading Skills, New Study Says

Research has suggested that playing video games has the potential to improve your reading skills.

Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan say that gaming may improve peripheral attention skills, which are essential for reading ability.

‘Attention is an important part of successful reading,’ explained Shaylyn Kress, who led the study, speaking to The Star Phoenix.

‘Your eyes need to scan across a page in a systematic manner to correctly process each word and sentence, for example.

‘Therefore, activities which may impact attentional processes, such as video games, may also have an impact on reading as well.’

At first, the team tested the most popular video games to gauge the number of objects placed peripherally, versus in the middle, that players had to react to.

The next step was to take a group of participants with varying levels of gaming experience to complete a reading task that involved words flashing up on a screen in one of eight possible locations.

The words included well-known words that were easy to read. There were also fake words that required ‘sounding out’ to read.

The results revealed that participants who had played games with more peripheral objects were better at reading both the known words and the fake words quickly and efficiently.

‘We observed that individuals with more exposure to peripherally-presented visual demands in video games – for example, a text notification or enemy appearing on the side of your screen, rather than the center of the screen – tended to have faster-reading reaction times than individuals with less or no exposure to peripherally-presented visual demands,’ said Ms. Kress.

‘Economy and health sectors benefit from this research because it could lead to collaborations between scientists, clinicians, and game developers to create educational games tailored to improve reading ability,’ Ms. Kress added.