No matter what others may say, the digital age does have its advantages. And that includes teaching young children to read better. In a study conducted by Japan’s Kyoto University, researchers found out that children reading an e-book are more likely to develop better reading skills than those using a printed copy.
Led by the university’s Primate Research Institute, professor of language learning Nobuo Masataka developed a 12-page picture e-book with 576 characters, which they then had 15 4-year olds read. The e-book was equipped with a highlight function that colors the characters in red as read by the narrator. On the other hand, another group of 15 4-year olds had the printed versions read to them by their mothers. Both groups were exposed to either the e-book or printed version twice a day and under the same conditions. Results of the study showed that kids under the e-book group had an increased number of characters read from 3.1 to 19.5 after six days of reading it. Those with printed versions read to them by their mothers had a minimal increase of 0.3 characters.
The results led the researchers to conclude that added functions for the e-book group helped greatly. Masataka noted that, “highlighting the characters was a big help for children in learning to read the characters.” However, other factors that could affect children’s reading skills were not considered in the experiment, such as the children’s ability to understand what he is reading and also the way the mother’s communicate what they are reading to their children.
[via The Asahi Shimbun]
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