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Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 19;7(1):5863. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-05826-8.

Action video games improve reading abilities and visual-to-auditory attentional shifting in English-speaking children with dyslexia.

Author information

1
Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, Padova, 35131, Italy. sandro.franceschini@unipd.it.
2
Child Psychopathology Unit, Scientific Institute "E. Medea", Bosisio Parini, Lecco, 23842, Italy. sandro.franceschini@unipd.it.
3
Department of Languages and Literatures, Communication, Education and Society, University of Udine, Udine, 33100, Italy.
4
Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, Padova, 35131, Italy.
5
Child Psychopathology Unit, Scientific Institute "E. Medea", Bosisio Parini, Lecco, 23842, Italy.
6
Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Rovereto, Trento, 38068, Italy.
7
Sydney School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
8
Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Bergamo, Bergamo, 24129, Italy.

Abstract

Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties in learning to read and there is some evidence that action video games (AVG), without any direct phonological or orthographic stimulation, improve reading efficiency in Italian children with dyslexia. However, the cognitive mechanism underlying this improvement and the extent to which the benefits of AVG training would generalize to deep English orthography, remain two critical questions. During reading acquisition, children have to integrate written letters with speech sounds, rapidly shifting their attention from visual to auditory modality. In our study, we tested reading skills and phonological working memory, visuo-spatial attention, auditory, visual and audio-visual stimuli localization, and cross-sensory attentional shifting in two matched groups of English-speaking children with dyslexia before and after they played AVG or non-action video games. The speed of words recognition and phonological decoding increased after playing AVG, but not non-action video games. Furthermore, focused visuo-spatial attention and visual-to-auditory attentional shifting also improved only after AVG training. This unconventional reading remediation program also increased phonological short-term memory and phoneme blending skills. Our report shows that an enhancement of visuo-spatial attention and phonological working memory, and an acceleration of visual-to-auditory attentional shifting can directly translate into better reading in English-speaking children with dyslexia.

PMID:
28725022
PMCID:
PMC5517521
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-017-05826-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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