Study Tips

How Tablets With Literacy Apps Can Improve Reading


Encouraging your children to positively use informative and educational apps on phones, tablets and computers (rather than play Danger Dash for days) can prove beneficial to them.

Researchers from US universities have found that Tablets loaded with literacy apps may help improve the reading skills of young children, especially those in economically disadvantaged societies.

The tablet computers were distributed in a range of educational environment and then observed by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Georgia State University and Tufts University.

Cynthia Breazeal, an associate professor at MIT, affirmed the reason behind the project as “to harness the best science and innovation to bring education to the world’s most under resourced children.”

An inexpensive tablet computer, running on the Android operating system, was used. The researchers addressed a broad enough range of skills to lay a foundation for early reading education. The researchers developed their own interface for the tablets.

One was deployed in two rural Ethiopian villages with neither schools nor written cultures; another was set in a suburban South African school having one teacher attending to 60 pupils; finally a third tablet was set in a rural US school with predominantly low-income students. Across the three areas, the tablets were deployed to children aged 04-11.

In the Ethiopian trial, the children had no prior exposure to spoken English or any written language. After a year using the tablets, children were tested on their understanding of roughly 20 spoken English words, taken at random from apps loaded on the tablets. Over 50% of the children knew half the words, and every pupil new at least four words. When the children were presented with strings of Roman letters in a random order, 9 out of every 10 could identify at least 10 of them, and all the children could supply the sounds corresponding to at least two of them.

In the South African trial, rising second graders who had been issued tablets for a year’s length were able to sound out four times as many words as those who hadn’t. for the US trial – which involved only 4-year olds – half-day pre-school pupils were able to supply the sounds corresponding to nearly six times as many letters as they had been before the trial.

Researchers have launched new trials in Uganda, Bangladesh, India and the US.