Gaming Bookworms

Homework or zombie battles? Why not … BOTH?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

HOW to get your kids to stop with the video games and do their homework? Wait, could all that screen time actually be HELPING them?

Enter Angela Pasqualotto and team from the University of Geneva. They designed a kid-friendly action video game starring a flying creature named Raku. Players navigate through multiple missions with Raku to develop skills like working memory and flexible thinking. 

They divided 150 kids, from third to seventh grade, into two groups. One group played the Raku game. Others played a DIFFERENT game that tests skills like problem solving and reasoning. Each group played two hours a week for six weeks. 

Results? Kids exploring with Raku IMPROVED their reading speed and accuracy. Improvement held up – for up to eighteen months after the study! The other group remained at the same reading level.

The researchers think their game could provide a boost for students who don’t feel as comfortable reading.

Hey kids, move over – I’M gonna play some Animal Crossing now!

Reference: Pasqualotto, A., Altarelli, I., De Angeli, A., Menestrina, Z., Bavelier, D., & Venuti, P. (2022). Enhancing reading skills through a video game mixing action mechanics and cognitive training. Nature Human Behaviour.