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Get Children Reading

We have partnered with the National Literacy Trust to create this resource of video games that encourage and enable reading and writing skills.

The National Literacy Trust is a charity dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of children and young people who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life.

Video games have significant benefits for children who are reluctant or struggling readers. They give them access to stories through interaction and world building which they may not have been able to read in print. Video games also have benefits for families where parents may not be confident readers, meaning that sharing stories as a family is still accessible to all. The rise of video games on smartphones and tablets, as well as more affordable game consoles has made the sharing of interactive stories easier.

There are different ways that video games create this kind of collateral reading and aid literacy:

  • Reading In Games: Video games offer all sorts of reading at all levels. This can be from simple narrative in a game like Florence to dialogue in a game like Mutazione or even just identifying useful items and game mechanics with in-game descriptions in a game like Zelda Breath of the Wild. Then there are games like Thousand Threads that help players think about the power and the consequence of words.
  • Reading Around Games: Video games create worlds that often spawn secondary texts. This can be official novels that expand the world or guide books that offer instructions and help. Knights and Bikes, for example, has spin off books, a cartoon series and recipes to read.
  • Routes Into Books: Many popular book series, such as Beast Quest, offer a range of video games as an easy first step into those worlds that lead to then reading the books themselves.
  • Communication Around Games: As well as reading, games encourage all sorts of creative output. This can be to contribute to the many online forums and message boards to talk about the game. This can also be to write fan-fiction after being inspired about a game world or character. The Sims, for example, has an avid community writing and creating all kinds of content online.

This list includes 92 games from the last 31 years, with 1,382 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to get children reading.


 

Overboard

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Skill Rating: 13-15 year-olds

Release Date: 02/06/2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Point-and-Click

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Inkle Studios (@InkleStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

Overboard is a murder mystery narrative game played in reverse. You murder your husband at the start of the game and then try and get away with it. It's played on a ship where the characters are affected by your choices and change their actions...

Knights And Bikes!

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 26/08/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Foam Sword Games (@FoamSwordGames)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 2 players online

Enter a hand-painted adventure in a fictional late-eighties British island and work together as Nessa and Demelza to explore its coast on bikes to find treasure, mystery and trouble. There’s fighting with frisbees, water balloons, tape cassettes and...

Halo (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 15/11/2001, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Halo (@Halo)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online

Halo is the longstanding sci-fi shooting video game series that started when Halo: Combat Evolved launched alongside the Xbox in 2001. The franchise has featured on every Xbox platform since then, with Halo 5: Guardians serving as the latest entry in...

New Super Lucky's Tale

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 08/11/2019, updated in 2020

Price: 40% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: Playful Studios (@PlayfulStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

This is a platform game where you play a fox on a quest to recover pages from a magical book that will save his world. It takes gameplay in a more action-oriented direction but the islands and characters are full of quirky character and treasures like...

Rainbow Billy

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8-12 year-olds

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Platform, Rhythm and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: We Are Mana Void (@WeAreManaVoid)

Players: This is a single player game

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is a role-play adventure where you save the world from a colourless darkness. Unusually, battles are won through listening and conversation rather than traditional attacks. It combines the excitement and...

Marvel's Spider-Man (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 07/09/2018

Price: 35% off

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Stealth

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: Insomniac Games (@InsomniacGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Marvel's Spider-Man is a series of superhero adventures where you swing through an open-world city fighting crime and advancing a film-like story. There are also many side quests and missions you can take along the way.

Animal Crossing (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-16 year-olds

Release Date: 14/12/2001, updated in 2020

Price: 26% off

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, GameCube, Switch and Wii

Genres: Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Accessibility: 28 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

You live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game worlds, it’s the interconnected drama of the world and characters...

Before Your Eyes

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 08/04/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: Goodbye World (@Goodbye__World_)

Players: This is a single player game

Before Your Eyes is a narrative game you play with a webcam. It detects each time you blink and advances the story. In this way you work through different scenes from your life, looking around with the mouse and choosing interactions by blinking. It...

Penrose

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 01/09/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Web and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Creative and Narrative

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Double Speak Game (@DoubleSpeakGame)

Players: This is a single player game

Penrose is a text adventure, where you don't only read the story and choose its next step, but can go back into the text to change it in all sorts of mind-bending ways. As the develop describes it, "Penrose is a non-linear narrative adventure game about...

Assemble With Care

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-9 year-olds

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Platforms: PC and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Us Two Games (@UsTwoGames)

Players: This is a single player game

From the makers of Monument Valley, this puzzle game is a unique way to consider how physical objects become meaningful and hold our memories. You play a restorer who repairs people's favourite possessions: from family heirlooms to broken statues to...

Thousand Threads

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 30/07/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: Threads Game (@ThreadsGame)

Players: This is a single player game

Thousand Threads is an open world game of consequences. You are free to interact with the world, animals and people however you like, give, take, save, kill, inform, hide, befriend, betray. But how you do this will have ongoing and unavoidable...

Potion Craft

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 21/09/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Point-and-Click, Puzzle and Strategy

Developer: Tiny Build (@TinyBuild)

Players: This is a single player game

Potion Craft is a puzzle adventure game where you create potions in an ancient looking workshop. More than learning recipes, your potions need to strategically combine the qualities of each ingredient to explore the potion-map and create brews to help...

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 21/11/1991

Platforms: GBA, Switch, Wii and Wii U

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Puzzle

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: This is a single player game

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is an adventure game in a long "Zelda" series. Like the other games, you play Link, who must defeat an evil force in the land of Hyrule. You do this by exploring the world, killing spawning enemies and finding a...

Sid Meier's Civilization (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/10/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Fighting, Open World, Strategy and Turn-Based

Developer: Sid Meier (@Sid_Meier)

Players: You can play with 12 players in the same room

Civilization is a long running strategy game where you develop a society from hunter gatherer to space travel. There are many ways to approach this challenge; socially, militarily, politically or perhaps building wonders to impress other nations.

Storyteller

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Daniel Ben (@DanielBen)

Players: This is a single player game

Storyteller is a puzzle game about building stories. You use a set of icons to matching what is happening in each frame of the story. It's a simple challenge that gets the mind-stretching as you construct some of history’s greatest stories using...

Orwell's Animal Farm

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 10/12/2020

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Point-and-Click, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: Nerial (@Nerial)

Players: This is a single player game

Orwell's Animal Farm is an adventure game with a decent slice of strategy, all brought to life with beautiful hand-drawn storybook art. As the name suggests, the game is based on the 1945 literary classic Animal Farm by George Orwell, which uses a farm...

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 11-14 year-olds

Release Date: 12/12/2014, updated in 2019

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Android, GBA, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Point-and-Click, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Capcom USA (@CapcomUSA_)

Players: This is a single player game

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a courtroom murder mystery series where you piece together clues to challenge testimonies and uncover the truth. It’s like a visual novel, although you must interact with characters and evidence to progress.

A Dark Room

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8-12 year-olds

Release Date: 10/06/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Strategy and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Double Speak Game (@DoubleSpeakGame)

Players: This is a single player game

A Dark Room is an adventure where you try and survive in the wild. The world is depicted with just text but leads you into a dense narrative with intriguing visitors and a steadily expanding world. It has a simple start – a single option to stoke a...

A Place for the Unwilling

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 25/07/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC and Stadia

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: Al Pixel Games (@AlPixelGames)

Players: This is a single player game

A Place for the Unwilling is a narrative adventure set in the final 21 days of a dying city. You investigate the city and its inhabitants to piece together what has happened. However, the clock is always ticking and the city carries on, with or without...

Luigi's Mansion (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 19/10/2018, updated in 2019

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, GameCube and Switch

Genres: Action, Adventure and Puzzle

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: You can play with 8 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

The three Luigis Mansion (Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Gamecube or Nintendo Switch) games each challenge you to investigate a haunted mansion. As longstanding Nintendo character Luigi, you play a ghostbuster to capture various mischievous ghouls. The puzzles...

The Sims 4 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 04/02/2000

Price: 54% off

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: EA (@EA)

Players: This is a single player game

The Sims puts you in charge of a world of characters living normal lives. By providing a home, a job, leisure, friendships and even love interest, you work to make them happy. It’s an open-ended game as well, although the altruism is focused on...

Beyond Blue

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 22/04/2020, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Developer: Eline Media (@ElineMedia)

Players: This is a single player game

Beyond Blue is an underwater exploration game where you play Mirai, a deep-sea explorer and scientist. You see, hear, and interact with the ocean and the creatures in it as you discover an untouched world.

Wordle

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/12/2021

Price: Free

Platforms: Web

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: Power Languish (@PowerLanguish)

Players: This is a single player game

Wordle is a daily puzzle game where you (and anyone else playing that day) try and guess the secret word. You get six guesses that must be real words. Each letter is then coloured to provide clues: green for right letter in the right place, yellow for...

Ghost Trick

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 19/06/2010

Platforms: DS and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Capcom USA (@CapcomUSA_)

Players: This is a single player game

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a game where you play a ghost that can stop time to solve crimes and save lives. You can inhabit and control objects and possess corpses to alter what happens. His ultimate aim is to use his memories to find out how he...

Heaven's Vault

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 16/04/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Inkle Studios (@InkleStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

In Heaven’s Vault you play an archaeologist translating an ancient alien language whose decrypting weaves through an unfolding drama. While doing real linguistic work you interact with companions and locals. Your choices can open or close vast swathes...

Babble Royale

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 15/12/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Fighting, Puzzle and Strategy

Developer: Flantz (@Flantz)

Players: You can play with 16 players in the same room

Babble Royale is a puzzle word game played against 16 other players online. You simultaneously race to make words as in Scrabble. Here though, you do this to inch across the board and stay out of the encroaching storm.

Mutazione

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 23/09/2019

Price: 40% off

Platforms: Mac, PS4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Creative and Narrative

Developer: Gute Fabrik (@GuteFabrik)

Players: This is a single player game

In Mutazione you play as a 15-year-old girl visiting her grandfather on a faraway island inhabited by friendly but mutated villagers. By finding seeds, tending to gardens and talking to people, you uncover a tightly knit web of characters with...

A Fold Apart

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 11/04/2020

Price: 75% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Platform

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: LR Gthunder (@LRGthunder)

Players: This is a single player game

A puzzle game that explores the emotional rollercoaster of a long-distance relationship — in a world of folding paper. After career choices force them along separate paths, a Teacher and Architect vow to make their long-distance relationship work at...

Where the Heart Leads

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 13/07/2021

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation

Developer: Armature Studio (@ArmatureStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Where the Heart Leads is an adventure game where you make life-choices and then see their impact. You play Whit Anderson, as he revisits and alters his past, present, and future. It's a game that creates a surreal dream-like narrative, but one that is...

80 Days

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 31/07/2014, updated in 2019

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 11 features

Developer: Inkle Studios (@InkleStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

80 Days is a travel and culture discovery game set in 1872, where decisions about your journey around the world impact the course of the story and characters.

My Friend Peppa Pig

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3-5 year-olds

Release Date: 22/10/2021

Price: 25% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Petoons (@Petoons)

Players: This is a single player game

My Friend Peppa Pig is a narrative role-play game. It recreates the TV show Peppa Pig and features a few of the voice actors from the programme. Unlike the show, you are in the cartoon, controlling a character you create. You play with Peppa and her...

Psychonauts 2 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 25/08/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS2, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Double Fine (@DoubleFine)

Players: This is a single player game

Psychonauts 2 is a running, jumping and puzzle solving game where you play Raz who has psychic abilities that let him delve into the minds of others. In the game, you control Raz as he enters their mental worlds and uses other Psi-Powers (telekinesis,...

Reigns (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 11/08/2016

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle, Strategy and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Devolver Digital (@DevolverDigital)

Players: This is a single player game

Take charge of a kingdom, one decision at a time. Each choice is presented to you as a playing card with some advice or a question from one of the 38 different characters. Swipe left or right to make a decision that will impact the church, people,...

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/12/2011

Price: Free

Platforms: PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: Bioware (@Bioware)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 1000 players online

Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) is a role-playing game played with hundreds of other players online, as well as complete single-player narrative-based experiences. It's set in the Star Wars galaxy thousands of years before the films. The game is a...

Tangle Tower

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 19/09/2019

Platforms: PC, Switch and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: SFB Tom (@SFBTom)

Players: This is a single player game

Tangle Tower is a murder mystery game, from the same developer as Snipperclips, where you explore a grand old house and its intertwining families to solve a mysterious murder. You are given the events of the murder, each...

The Forgotten City

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/07/2021

Price: 30% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Mod N Story Teller (@ModNStoryTeller)

Players: This is a single player game

The Forgotten City is a mystery adventure. You explore and relive the final days of a cursed Roman city, where if one person sins, everyone dies. It starts as a bewildering array of characters, locations and information but over multiple goes your...

The Garden Path

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: From Carrot Cake (@FromCarrotCake)

Players: This is a single player game

The Garden Path is a slice-of-life simulation game about the small pleasures of gardening. You tend to a world and make it your own through fishing, growing, trading and making new friends. As you do an adventure emerges.

Dodgeball Academia

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 05/08/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Open World, Role-Playing and Sports

Accessibility: 29 features

Developer: Pocket Trap (@PocketTrap)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

Dodgeball Academia is a sports game that focuses as much on story as sporting action. You play Otto, who hopes to become the ultimate dodgeball player. To do this you need to build a diverse team and learn new skills.

Lost Words: Beyond the Page

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 01/12/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: Games Sketchbook (@GamesSketchbook)

Players: This is a single player game

Lost Words is an adventure game where you run, jump and explore inside a young girl’s diary. You control Izzy as she writes her diary by walking on words, move them around and solve different puzzles. This develops two parallel stories, one about Izzy...

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 17/11/2005, updated in 2020

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, Switch and Wii

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Role-Playing and Turn-Based

Developer: Spike Chunsoft e (@SpikeChunsoft_e)

Players: This is a single player game

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is a series of fighting games where you control different cartoon creatures as they make their way through randomly-generated dungeons, defeating enemies and adding them to your team. It's a simple roguelike game where you take...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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