Digital games, literacy and language learning in L1 and L2

A comparative review


  • Thorkild Hanghøj
  • Kristine Kabel
  • Signe Hannibal Jensen



digital games, literacy, language learning, comparatvie review, K1-2


In this comparative systematic review, we analyse how the use of digital games inside and outside school settings might support primary and secondary students’ literacy and language learning in relation to first language (L1) and second language (L2) educational contexts. Our findings indicate widely different patterns from utilising diverse game aspects, theories, and research methodologies in relation to the two different subject areas, which show that they are less convergent than what often is suggested in research that compares the two subjects in a globalised world. The L1 studies indicate positive findings with mainly commercial games in relation to writing, multimodal production, critical literacy, and, partly, to reading. The L2 studies report positive findings with educational games in relation to the investigated language skills (vocabulary, reading, and writing), though with an increasing number of studies conducted in out-of-school settings examining commercial gaming practices. We discuss the findings from the two K-12 subjects using a cross-disciplinary perspective, and we suggest directions for future research.




How to Cite

Hanghøj, T., Kabel, K., & Jensen, S. H. (2022). Digital games, literacy and language learning in L1 and L2: A comparative review. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 22(2), 1–44.