Digital Books Engage Young Readers

Reading found to be more valuable by middle school boys using e-reader

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Keeping students engaged has always been a teacher’s challenge. With mobile devices and games more prevalent than ever, it is only getting more difficult. However, the same technology may help students enjoy reading.

A new study has found that middle school boys found reading to be more valuable when using an e-reader. Interestingly, girls of the same age group did not - they seemed to enjoy paper books more.

"Try an e-reader like a Nook or Kindle."

The study was led by Dara Williams-Rossi, Ph.D., of Southern Methodist University. The researchers gave e-readers and e-books to a classroom for 199 middle school students who struggled with reading. The class was focused on reading improvement and the students were able to use the e-readers in class for about 15-25 minutes per class period.

After two months of using the readers the researchers assessed the value of the e-readers. Both teachers and students reported a satisfying experience in the class.

The boys reported that they had an improved attitude towards the value of reading. Teachers reported that the e-readers sparked excitement in the class and received positive attention from the students.

The girls in the class did not seem to benefit from the e-readers like the boys, but the researchers are continuing to investigate ways to better engage girls.

“We are continuing our investigation and interviewing girls to understand their reaction to the e-readers. It may be that they prefer curling up with actual books and that they enjoy sharing their reading with their friends," adds Williams-Rossi.

The study will be published in the International Journal of Applied Science and Technology. Rotary International Club purchased the e-readers for the research.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 29, 2012
Last Updated:
March 31, 2012