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Ebooks can raise literacy levels in boys

Research finds ebooks have measurable impact on boys' literacy levels, reading confidence, enjoyment and engagement

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | January 23, 2016 | Primary

A major national study into the impact of ebooks on school pupils’ reading has concluded that using ebooks can significantly raise literacy levels, improve engagement and change attitudes to reading for reluctant readers.

The research, conducted by the National Literacy Trust, is one of the first and largest studies into the impact of ebooks on reading attitudes, behaviour and attainment in UK schools, studying pupils from 40 schools using RM Books ebooks.

During schools’ projects, , it was found that boys’ reading levels increased by an average of 8.4 months, compared to 7.2 months’ progress made by girls.

Positive changes in attitudes to reading were especially pronounced for boys: There was an 11% increase in the number of boys who enjoyed reading using technology, twice as many boys felt that reading was cool at the end of the project (36% pre, 67% post) and the percentage that felt reading was difficult almost halved (28% pre, 16% post).

It’s also encouraging to see that the positive impact of eBooks applies to every type of school, from grammar to inner city academies

The study had the greatest impact on boys who did not enjoy reading at the beginning of the project. The proportion of the most reluctant readers who said they enjoyed reading using technology increased from half (49%) to almost two thirds (64%). 

Interestingly, the percentage that enjoyed reading on paper also increased, fourfold, from 10% at the beginning of the project to 40% at the end of the project, indicating that ebooks acted as a catalyst to uncover an exciting new world of reading for these pupils.

Alan Hodgin, Head of RM Books, said: “One of the most significant findings in the National Literacy Trust’s study is a step improvement in deeply ingrained attitudes towards reading; enjoying reading will have a lasting and cumulative benefit across students’ studies and throughout their lives. It’s encouraging to see that the positive impact of eBooks applies to every type of school, from grammar to inner city academies.”

“It’s exciting to be at the forefront of something with the potential the change the landscape of the way we improve literacy levels nationwide, and we are hoping the study’s conclusions will help other schools embrace this technology and apply it to improve their pupils’ literacy and to help develop a life-long love of reading.”

The NLT’s full study, entitled ‘The Impact of ebooks on the Reading Motivation and Reading Skills of Young People: a study of schools using RM Books’ can be viewed at www.literacytrust.org.uk

For more information about RM Books and their work with schools, visit www.ebooksforschools.com 

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