Playing video games might help kids with dyslexia improve their focus and score higher on tests, according to Italian researchers. As reported in HealthDay, the study had one group of 10 kids with dyslexia play an action video game on the Wii for 12 hours over several days, and another group play a video game that did not focus on action. Andrea Facoetti, co-author of the study and assistant professor with the Developmental & Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at the University of Padua in Italy, said that the kids who played the action game improved their reading speed as much as or more than children with dyslexia typically improve in an intense reading program. While Facoetti emphasized that the researchers are “not suggesting a ‘do-it-yourself’ training by any means,” he said that video games may help train a dyslexic child’s brain to pay closer attention to things and could become a tool for teachers.
Guinevere Eden, past president of the International Dyslexia Association and director of the Center for the Study of Learning at Georgetown University, who was not involved with the study, told the news outlet that the results should be taken seriously. “It’s exciting to see an unconventional approach to try to improve the speed or fluency of reading,” she said. Eden added that the next step is to find out and understand why playing video games might help kids with the reading disability improve their symptoms. The study showed an association but no cause-and-effect relationship, noted HealthDay.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.