Playing or reading? Children’s encounters with the story-world of a digital game

​Fiona Maine, University of Cambridge.
An investigation into children’s collaborative engagement and game-play orientations

This study set out to extend our understanding of literacy through investigating Y6 children’s encounters with the storyworld of a digital narrative game, Monument Valley, exploring the different approaches that they took as they played the game together in pairs. 

The research finds that the children adopted stances, or orientations, which related to differences between their game-play as reactive and immersed, or strategic and critical. 

Findings highlight how the children drew on intertextual knowledge as they became involved in the storyworld of the game; and domain-specific knowledge about gaming as they sought to complete it. Analysis of the children’s language as they engaged together emphasised the dialogic nature of their collaboration with the game itself, as they responded to the game design and invested in the goals of the characters within it. 

The study captures a picture of 11 year old children as ludic and creative problem-solving readers in the early 21st century, and considers how their literacy approaches might be shaped by their contextual experiences. Importantly it highlights the potential for the use of a variety of text forms within the primary English curriculum and the affordance of collaboration in reading/problem-solving activities.

For further information, contact Fiona Maine


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