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Get Children Reading

Image 221We 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.

Image 241There 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 40 games from the last 30 years, with 419 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to get children reading.

Game image

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3+ to PEGI 16+
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB TEEN
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Puzzle, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation, Strategy and Turn-Based
Total Likes: 419
 

 

Animal Crossing (Series)

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

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

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

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @NintendoAmerica

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...

Penrose

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 01/09/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Web Browser and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Creative and Narrative

Developer: @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...

Thousand Threads

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 30/07/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Developer: @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...

New Super Lucky's Tale

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

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

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @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...

Orwell's Animal Farm

Expected Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 10/12/2020

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @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)

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

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

Price: Free-to-start

Platforms: Android, Nintendo 2DS|3DS, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Developer: @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.

Potion Craft

Expected Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Puzzle and Strategy

Developer: @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...

Marvel’s Spider-Man (Series)

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 07/09/2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5

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

Developer: @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.

Game image Halo

Halo

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PEGI Rating 16+ for HaloESRB Rating TEEN for Halo

Halo (Series)

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

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

Developer: @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...

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 21/11/1991

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Wii U

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

Developer: @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...

Knights And Bikes!

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

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

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative

Developer: @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...

Luigi's Mansion 3 (Series)

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE

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

Platforms: GameCube, Nintendo 2DS|3DS and Nintendo Switch

Genres: Action, Adventure and Puzzle

Developer: @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...

Civilization (Series)

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

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

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

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

Developer: @Sid_Meier

Players: This is a single player game

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.

Ghost Trick

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 19/06/2010

Price: Free-to-start

Platforms: Nintendo DS and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @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...

Assemble With Care

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Platforms: PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @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...

The Kingdom of Istyald

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 28/11/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @laBnF

Players: This is a single player game

The Kingdom of Istyald is a text adventure that takes you on a strange journey while also introducing Fantasy as a literary genre. As you play you not only meet fantastic creatures but meet its main tropes: Elves, Dwarves, Warlocks, Dragons. Whether...

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 30/08/2016

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Fighting and Turn-Based

Developer: @TinManGames

Players: This is a single player game

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is a games based on the choose-your-own-adventure books from the 90's.

Mutazione

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 23/09/2019

Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Creative and Narrative

Developer: @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...

The Sims 4 (Series)

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 04/02/2000

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

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

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 22/04/2020

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @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.

Heaven’s Vault

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 16/04/2019

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @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...

WordHunters

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 14/11/2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @Thumbfood

Players: You can play with 6 players in the same room

This is a world-travelling word game you play on the PlayStation using a smartphone or tablet rather than controller. The smartphone and tablet screens makes picking letters easy for all ages and the camera on these devices is used to put each...

Game image Ord

Ord

3
PEGI Rating 3+ for OrdESRB Rating EVERYONE for Ord

Ord

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 05/06/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Role-Playing

Developer: @JoniTweetsGames

Players: This is a single player game

Ord is an unusual text adventure, rather than one grand story, you embark on a series of distinct quests. Whether it's defeating an evil warlock or creating your own world as a god, Ord tells stories through simple series of words and word associations...

Rivals

Expected Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 21/09/2020

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @TimSheinman

Players: This is a single player game

Rivals is a puzzle game where you piece together the story of Josh and Luke and the breakup of their band. Playing detective, similarly to Return of the Obra Dinn, but rather than murder it's musical betrayal you are sleuthing here. You inspect sources,...

Typoman

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 19/11/2015

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @BrainSeed_Fcty

Players: This is a single player game

Typoman is a running, jumping puzzle game where you use letters and words to solve puzzles and progress. You play as a character made of letters in a hostile land with evil creatures. As this unusual character, you make your way through the world...

Reigns (Series)

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 11/08/2016

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS

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

Developer: @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,...

A Dark Room

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

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

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and iOS

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

Developer: @Continuities

Players: This is a single player game

A Dark Room is an adventure where you try and survive in the wild. It has a similarly simple start – a single option to stoke a fire – but also evolves into an incrementally complex system of resource management as a larger story unfolds.

Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 17/10/2019

Platforms: PC and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Role-Playing, Simulation, Strategy and Turn-Based

Developer: @ASharpLLC

Players: This is a single player game

Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind is a storybook strategy game, set in the same world as King of Dragon Pass. Similar to games like HeroQuest, RuneQuest or God Wars but unusual because you make decisions at your leisure then see them play out through static...

Sticky Terms

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 01/03/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @Kamibox_ph

Players: This is a single player game

Sticky Terms is a puzzle game where you construct words from other languages with portions of letters. You rotate, drag and overlap the different elements to create words, once you do you are rewarded with a drum hit and a definition of the word.

Lego Hidden Side

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 18/08/2019

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Creative, Narrative, Physically Active, Puzzle and Shooting

Developer: @Lego

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room

Lego Hidden side is an adventure game you play by building physical Lego kits and then interacting with them via an augmented reality app on your Smartphone. After building, when you put the kids on the camera they come to life on the screen, offering...

Lost Words: Beyond the Page

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 01/12/2019

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Stadia and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @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...

Tangle Tower

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 19/09/2019

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @SFBDim

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 it’s intertwining families to solve a mysterious murder. You are given the events of the murder, each...

80 Days

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

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

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Turn-Based

Developer: @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.

Sunless Sea

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 06/02/2015

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @FailbetterGames

Players: This is a single player game

Sunless Sea is a sea-faring adventure where you pilot a small steamship to explore a Victorian-era London that has been moved beneath the earth's surface. You take on the role of captain but select different ambitions that determine how you will play.

Reigns: Beyond (Series)

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 06/11/2020

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Narrative, Role-Playing, Strategy and Turn-Based

Developer: @Nerial

Players: This is a single player game

Reigns: Beyond is the next game in the Reigns series that puts you in charge of making important decisions. Rather than running a kingdom, this time you are in an intergalactic indie rock band trying to gain stardom and fame.

Nanotale - Typing Chronicles (Series)

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 23/09/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC and Stadia

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Narrative, Open World and Role-Playing

Developer: @FishingCactus

Players: This is a single player game

Nanotale is an adventure game where you type to progress through a magical planet on the brink of extinction. You play as Rosalind, a novice Archivist, in a journey to study and catalogue the mysteries of the dying planet. Your goal is to gather rock &...

MoonLite

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 01/01/2017

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Physically Active

Players: This is a single player game

Moonlite is a narrative experience for small children. It combines traditional storybooks with your smartphone light to create projected pictures with sounds and interactions.

A Fold Apart

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 11/04/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Platform

Developer: @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...

King of Dragon Pass

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 01/01/1999

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Role-Playing, Simulation, Strategy and Turn-Based

Developer: @kingdragonpass

Players: This is a single player game

King of Dragon Pass is a fantasy strategy game where you control barbarian clans settling in the dangerous frontier region of Dragon Pass.

She and the Light Bearer

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 17/01/2019, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Adventure and Puzzle

Developer: @MojikenStudio

Players: This is a single player game

She and the Light Bearer is a point-and-click adventure game with hand-drawn visuals, where you find and interact with items to solve puzzles and advance through its narrative. It’s accompanied by an instrumental acoustic soundtrack that reveals a new...


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