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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 222There 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.

Game image Knights And BikesEditor's Choice

Knights And Bikes!

PEGI Rating 7+ for Knights And BikesESRB Rating EVERYONE 10+ for Knights And Bikes

Knights And Bikes!

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative

Duration: Between 10 hours and 12 hours to complete.

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

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Game image Thousand ThreadsEditor's Choice

Thousand Threads

Thousand Threads

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Assemble With Care

Platforms: PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 1 and a half hours and 2 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Animal Crossing (Series)

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

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Duration: Between half an hour and 45 minutes to play a round.

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

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

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 minutiae of this diorama that makes...


Beyond Blue

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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.


A Dark Room

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and iOS

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

Duration: Between 4 hours and 5 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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.


Mutazione

Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Creative and Narrative

Duration: Between 6 hours and 10 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Reigns (Series)

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Strategy

Duration: Between 10 minutes and 1 hour to play a round.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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,...


Heaven’s Vault

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 18 hours and 22 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Luigi's Mansion

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

Genres: Action, Adventure and Puzzle

Duration: Between 14 hours and 20 hours to complete.

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

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

The three Luigi’s 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...


Tangle Tower

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 6 hours and 7 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Lost Words: Beyond the Page

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

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Duration: Between 4 hours and 5 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Wii U

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

Duration: Between 18 hours and 25 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


80 Days

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

Genres: Adventure and Turn-Based

Duration: Between 3 hours and 5 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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.


Ghost Trick

Platforms: Nintendo DS and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 12 hours and 16 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Free-to-start. In-game purchases.

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...


Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney (Series)

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

Genres: Adventure, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Duration: Between 17 hours and 26 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Free-to-start. In-game purchases.

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.


Civilization (Series)

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

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

Duration: Between 20 hours and 40 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

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.


The Sims (Series)

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.

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

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...


Marvel’s Spider-Man (Series)

Platforms: PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5

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

Duration: Between 16 hours and 22 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost. Season pass and in-game purchases.

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.


Sunless Sea

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 13 hours and 19 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

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.


Halo (Series)

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Duration: Between 8 hours and 12 hours to complete.

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

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

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...