68 Dyslexia & Video Games

Based on Research by Paula Tallal, Ph.D.. Psychology Science Minute written by Psychological Association, adapted by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D..

Why do about 15 percent of Americans struggle to learn to read? Some letters like “b” and “p” are difficult to distinguish by sight or sound. Letter sounds occur exceedingly fast in only ten hundredths of a second. Being able to quickly identify these ultra fast sounds and segment them out of words is essential to basic language foundation, affecting what we hear, read, spell and speak. Dyslexia, defined as difficulty learning to read despite average intelligence may cause children academic problems.

Cognitive neuropsychologist Paula Tallal and colleagues developed research-based computerized video training games, called “Fast ForWord,” helping children with this form of dyslexia to function more like normal readers.  The games provide intensive, highly individualized cross-training for attention, processing, cognitive, linguistic and reading skills, all of which are vital for academic success. For example, in one of the games a child earns points by distinguishing the sounds “ba” from “pa.” When a child masters the task, the game adjusts its playing level so the child is challenged on a more advanced level the next day. The result: treatment effects that formerly required years can be accomplished in a few weeks.

Can video games be a positive activity? When carefully designed, the games can educate and remediate!


For more details see:


American Psychological Association, June 1, 2004

Cited Research

Holly Fitch, R., & Tallal, P. (2003). Neural mechanisms of language-based learning impairments: Insights from human populations and animal models. Behavior and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews, Vol. 2, pp. 155-178.

Tallal, P., & Benasich, A. A. (2002). Developmental language learning impairments. Development and Psychopathology, Vol. 14, pp. 559-579.

Temple, E., Deutsch, G.K., Poldrack, R.A., Miller, S.L., Tallal, P., Merzenich, M.M. & Gabrieli, J. (2003). Neural deficits in children with dyslexia ameliorated by behavioral remediation: Evidence from functional MRI. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 100, pp. 2860-2865.

Show More
Back to top button