Playing action video games for hours can actually make dyslexic children read better, according to a new study.
In fact, 12 hours of video game play did more for reading skills than is normally achieved with a year of spontaneous reading development or demanding traditional reading treatments.
"Action video games enhance many aspects of visual attention, mainly improving the extraction of information from the environment," said Andrea Facoetti of the University of Padua and the Scientific Institute Medea of Bosisio Parini in Italy.
"Dyslexic children learned to orient and focus their attention more efficiently to extract the relevant information of a written word more rapidly."
The findings come as further support for the notion that visual attention deficits are at the root of dyslexia, a condition that makes reading extremely difficult for one out of every ten children, Facoetti added.
He emphasized that there is, as of now, no approved treatment for dyslexia that includes video games.
Facoetti''s team, including Sandro Franceschini, Simone Gori, Milena Ruffino, Simona Viola, and Massimo Molteni, tested the reading, phonological, and attentional skills of two groups of children with dyslexia before and after they played action or non-action video games for nine 80-minute sessions. The action video gamers were able to read faster without losing accuracy. They also showed gains in other tests of attention.
The study was recently publishe in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.