Research Roundup: E-Reading and Literacy

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From Curriculet’s student-centered e-edition of USA Today to HISD’s partnership with MyON, schools are increasingly using screen-based tools to help students build literacy. And at home, parents can use e-books and tablet apps for the same purpose.

A recent article on Education Week highlights some of the latest research on how e-reading can and should be used to build literacy. Four studies with varying foci are discussed, but the one which will be of greatest interest to parents deals with the use of iPad-based reading apps with young children. The study found that parents engaged with their children less when using these tools than when reading aloud together from a print book, gradually backing off and allowing the iPad to become the child’s center of attention. This over-reliance on the iPad is a distinct negative, according to the researchers’ analysis, since parents’ involvement in children’s play and learning is important.

Does this mean e-readers are “bad” for reading with kids, as compared to print books? Not necessarily. But it does mean that when using e-readers with children, parents should be cognizant of their own level of engagement and be careful not to sit back and let the tablet do all the work.

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