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Let's Play: Exploring Literacy Practices in an Emerging Videogame Paratext


E-Learning and Digital Media Volume 13, Number 3, ISSN 2042-7530


This article explores the literacy practices associated with Let's Play videos (or LPs) on YouTube. A hybrid of digital gaming and video, LPs feature gameplay footage accompanied by simultaneous commentary recorded by the player. Players may set out to promote, review, critique or satirize a game. In recent years, LPs have become hugely popular with young audiences, and currently make up over half the top hundred channels on YouTube. The authors identify LPs as emerging videogame paratexts with pedagogical potential. In particular, they ask how LPs function as sites of new literacies. They answer that question by discussing two key characteristics of LP practices: their emphasis on processes of meaning-making within games; and their mobilization of literacies associated with remix and appropriation. The final section of the article explores how LP practices might inform literacy instruction in schools.


Burwell, C. & Miller, T. (2016). Let's Play: Exploring Literacy Practices in an Emerging Videogame Paratext. E-Learning and Digital Media, 13(3), 109-125. Retrieved April 25, 2019 from .

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