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Playing video games may improve reading speed of children with dyslexia, study finds

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Playing video games may be more effective at helping dyslexic children read faster then reading development, according to the results of a study from the University of Padua, Italy.

In the study, children ages 7 to 13 played 12 hours of fast-paced mini-games from the Nintendo Wii's Rayman Raving Rabbids over two weeks. According to the study's summary from the journal Cell Biology, results indicate that "playing action video games improved children's reading speed, without any cost in accuracy, more so than one year of spontaneous reading development and more than or equal to highly demanding traditional reading treatments."

Andrea Facoetti, an assistant professor who contributed to the study, explained that playing certain video games can improve visual attention, which also appears to help reading skills.

"Action video games enhance many aspects of visual attention, mainly improving the extraction of information from the environment," Facoetti said. "Dyslexic children learned to orient and focus their attention more efficiently to extract the relevant information of a written word more rapidly."

Other researchers are skeptical of the findings. Psychologist Nicola Brunswick of London's Middlesex University told Science News that researchers tested reading ability two months but did so with only six of the 10 children studied and excluded reading comprehension.