CILIP’s Public and Mobile Libraries Group December Newsletter reported on the the National Literacy Trust’s second annual survey of parents and practitioners on Children’s early literacy practices at home and in early years settings. The report makes for very interesting reading.
The Report suggests that the latest survey data indicated that ‘technology may provide a route in to reading for children of lower socioeconomic status’. Children from poorer households were found to spend twice as long reading stories on a touch screen than from printed sources. Moreover, twice as many boys than girls claimed to read more stories on a touch screen than in print. It would appear that early theories about the advantages of digital technologies for engaging hard-to-reach readers are now supported by the statistics.
It is important to note however that the recommended approach is still, very much a blended one: ‘in general, young children are more likely to have above average vocabulary attainment if they look at or read both printed stories and stories on a touch screen’.
The UK’s National Literacy Trust has published a literature review summing up The Impact of eBooks on the Reading Motivation and Reading Skills of Children and Young People. In 2012, for the first time ever, the National Literacy Trust’s annual literacy survey reported that the number of children ‘reading on screen outside school outnumbered those reading in print’. This paper explores what such a dramatic shift in reading patterns means for young people’s literacy levels, by systematically reviewing the current thinking on the subject. The review addresses the negative concerns that screen reading detrimentally effects comprehension and recall, as well as the positive claims that eReading motivates typically reluctant readers (such as boys or those from less advantaged backgrounds).
The paper pools together an intriguing and useful collection of easy to understand statistics on the matter, for example:
– Scholastic US research found that of children who had read an eBook, 26% of boys and 16% of girls said they were reading more books as a result.
- A 2012 study of 36 struggling readers at KS3 found ‘substantial gains in both accuracy and comprehension’ following an intervention involving both print and enhanced eBooks.
- A 2013 study of 103 US high school students with dyslexia found that students offered texts on an iPod touch showed significantly improved reading speed and comprehension compared with reading on paper.