“E-readers are an attractive source of technology for students and encourage them to read, particularly boys”. This is one of the conclusions reached by a research team from Southern Methodist University, in Dallas (US), after conducting a study with 199 middle-school pupils with reading difficulties.
The experiment consisted of providing each student with an e-reader containing 25 classic novels (in this case it was a Kindle, from Amazon). The students read for an average of 15-25 minutes per day, for two months. At the end of that time, they had each read from one to four electronic texts. The boys had improved their level of comprehension and were more likely to read with e-readers. The girls, however, tended to prefer conventional books.
Adults have gradually adapted to e-readers since they appeared on the market. Youngsters, however, have done so much more rapidly, especially boys.
As 50% of all e-reader users say that they read more now than before, it would be a good idea to increase the use of these devices in the classroom. Students would find that they are great allies:
- A large number of books can be stored on an e-reader, so students would not have to carry such heavy backpacks.
- They provide access to books in other languages.
- They can be read anywhere and at any time.
- It is easy to find specific parts of the text.
- Text can be highlighted or underlined and notes can be made.
- The e-ink screen does not tire the eyes or harm your sight. It is non-reflective.
- Adjustable font size.
- The contents of an e-reader can also be stored on a computer or hard disk.
- The Wi-Fi capability is for downloading books only, preventing the distraction derived from internet access.
- E-readers have a reduced environmental impact, as trees do not need to be felled and no transport is required. On the other hand, the energy consumption of an e-reader is minimal.
We hope that it won’t be long before e-readers are found in all classrooms, so that students can benefit from the advantages of the new technologies applied to education.