Changes in Lexical and Reading Proficiency Through English Input from Video Games

Benjamin Thanyawatpokin

Abstract


In recent years, video games have slowly been gaining more traction as a learning tool in the academic world. Evidence has been shown that video games can be used as tools to support language acquisition. However, studies, which focus on single-player games and their use outside of a classroom environment, are still sparse. This paper investigates single-player video games and their effect on University student reading and vocabulary comprehension in a mixed-method study. The participants in the study included a treatment group of nine second-year university students and a control group of ten second-year university students. All the students were volunteers from the same program and came from the same university. Data taken included vocabulary size and word recognition tests followed by a reading rate and reading comprehension test. In addition to this data, qualitative data in the form of interviews were included to support the findings of the reading and vocabulary tests. Over two months, data taken from subjects suggests reading rate, reading comprehension, and word recognition speeds showed a statistically significant rise. On the other hand, vocabulary size scores showed the treatment group had lower vocabulary sizes. In addition, the diaries show evidence that repeated incidental encounters with the same word and phrase may have played a part in the above-mentioned benefits. Motivation to play the game was also upheld throughout the two months according to the qualitative data. The data suggest that certain dimensions of reading and vocabulary comprehension such as word recognition speed and reading speed can be developed by using video games as a learning support tool.


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