Have you ever seen a child totally immersed in her video game play? Try to get her attention and it seems like she’s in another world (she is). But ask her later about what she was doing and chances are she’ll amaze you with her understanding and comprehension of what was happening in the game.
Can games really improve reading comprehension? Can they help kids improve their textual and oral language skills? The team at LearningWorks for Kids says yes, and we have a list of games to prove it. Christmas is almost upon us, but these games that improve reading comprehension are all available on app stores and online, making them easy last-minute gift purchases.
For Readers Young and Old: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: If you haven’t heard of the newest Pokémon game, a cursory Google search will tell you that in a few short weeks it has become the best selling Nintendo Switch game to date. But this is not a popularity contest and the reason we are recommending this game is because of the rich amount of dialogue the player will experience in the game. For younger players, parents or older siblings may have to read some of the text boxes to them but chances are your older children won’t even know how much they are reading during their time playing the game. This is an extra bonus if you have a child who is also a reluctant reader. Try asking them questions about their current goals in the game and what they think of the different characters and you will be blown away by how much of the story they have absorbed!
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is rated E and is available on the Nintendo Switch.
For the Fan of Science Fiction Stories: Stray: If your child just wants to read about robots and other worlds, throw an adorable cat into the mix and give them the gift of Stray. This game is about an ordinary cat who, with his robot companion, must navigate a world filled with broken down robot towns, android police, and mutant creatures that would love nothing more than to snack on a furry feline. Because the cat in the story cannot speak and the robots have their own language for communication, the player needs to absorb the story by reading dialogue boxes, diary entries, signs, etc. Ask your child what they think about the world of the story and how they think it got that way.
Stray is rated T for Teen and is available on Steam and Playstation 4 and 5.
For the Whole Family of Readers: Kirby and the Forgotten Land: This is another great family game that features dialogue that the player will need to read in order to understand the story. Because this game is for a slightly younger audience, there is less of it than the other two games we have recommended, and it will give your youngest gamer a great way to practice reading. You might need to help them out with some of the larger words but ask them to read the speech bubbles out loud to you and ask them questions about how they think the characters are feeling about the missing Waddle Dees in the game.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is rated E10+ and is available on the Nintendo Switch.