Research: Video Games and Movies Motivate Children to Read More

New research confirms what most parents with young children and the people that market all kinds of things to them already know: that there is a synergy between films, video games, toys, and books. A survey of more than 420,000 British school children found that almost all the most-loved books of 2012 and 2013 also existed as films, apps or video games.

The report, "What Kids are Reading," was put together by Professor Keith Topping of Dundee University (in Scotland). His research found that the most popular books are two Harry Potter novels and Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire in the Hunger Games trilogy. Novels such as The Hobbit, published way back in 1937, have found a larger audience thanks to film adaptations, the research also notes.

The annual survey of British children’s reading habits also found that other forms of media encouraged younger children to take on books an average of 2.4 years above their reading age.

"The importance of reading for pleasure and its positive impact on literacy standards cannot be overstated. These results demonstrate that it’s all about motivation and challenge," said Dirk Foch, managing director of educational software company Renaissance Learning, which published the report’s findings. "There may also be some good news for parents who are concerned about the dominance of technology in children’s lives."

"In an increasingly multimedia world, these findings suggest technology can support literacy, rather than act as a distraction," he continued. "Children are clearly drawn to characters, concepts and authors they have seen in games, films, TV ads and promotional tie-ups and if this helps widen and challenge their reading choices, then so much the better.”

Other popular books among children were the Lord of the Rings trilogy, fantasy novels Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, and science fiction novel Divergent by Veronica Roth.

"We cannot assume that children see the film and then want to read the book, because the opposite may be true," said Professor Topping. "Would books like The Hobbit be on the favorites lists if there were no films? The answer is yes – we know this because The Hobbit was high on the lists before the first film came out. However, since the first film came out The Hobbit has risen up the lists and become even more popular. So films certainly do give a book added value for children."

Source: The Scotsman

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