The following ran on the March 27, 2012, edition of Earthsky.org. Dara Willilams-Rossi, lecturer and director of undergraduate programs at SMU's Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, provided expertise for this story.
April 4, 2012
Study finds e-readers have opposite effect on middle school girls who struggle with reading.
Middle school boys rated reading more valuable as an activity after two months of using an e-reader, according to a new study.
The findings come from a study of 199 middle school students who struggle with reading and who participated in a reading improvement class that included Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, said one of the study’s authors, Dara Williams-Rossi, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.
The researchers found that boys consistently had a higher self-concept of their reading skill than girls both before and after using the e-readers. After use of the e-readers, boys’ attitudes about the value of reading improved, while girls’ attitudes declined, said Williams-Rossi, an assistant clinical professor in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at SMU.
Technology motivated boys; girls appear to prefer actual books
“The technology appeared to motivate the boys to read, while many girls preferred the actual books,” said Williams-Rossi, who is also director of undergraduate programs in Simmons. “The data showing the girls’ preference were statistically significant and particularly intriguing. This is part of a 3-year study and this data came midway through, so 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.”
Among the findings, students generally liked using e-readers and many felt that using it helped their reading improve. Sixth- and seventh-graders were more enthusiastic than eighth-graders about the e-readers, the researchers found....