Does Research Support Kindle Use to Improve Student Reading Scores?

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Much research highlighted in the past few years indicates the importance of time spent reading as the key factor in reading improvement for students.  One path the debate has taken concerns the amount of reading that kids do on the web.  The New York Times addressed this factor in a recent article.

However, as Lee Ann points out in her comment to a post on this site:

Stephen Krashen (The Power of Reading) has said that access to books is the variable that most impacts students’ reading time, so I would imagine that have an entire library on a Kindle would certainly increase how much students read. Books at their fingertips is always my goal for students and Kindles would accomplish that and much more than what I can supply per table top in the classroom.

If we look at access to books as the key, research clearly states the more the better:

In examining the average 2005 math scores of 12th graders who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books, an analysis of federal Education Department statistics found that those students scored much lower than those who lived in homes with more than 100 books. Although some of those results could be attributed to income gaps, Mr. Iyengar noted that students who lived in homes with more than 100 books but whose parents only completed high school scored higher on math tests than those students whose parents held college degrees (and were therefore likely to earn higher incomes) but who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books.

Of course, this research addresses a number of factors through this single metric: homes in which books are valued usually contain more books.  But the practical outcome of this factor is that kids in homes which value books are exposed to more books, and hence have more opportunity to read.

So, if we sent kids home everyday with a Kindle loaded with 100 books (or more, since the Kindle has capacity for more), would we start to chip away at the impact of homes having too few books for kids to become better readers?

Not an idle question, especially if one of those books were Stephanie Meyers’ wildly popular Twilight.  It’s on my Kindle (and it cost me $6.03)…

  1 comment for “Does Research Support Kindle Use to Improve Student Reading Scores?

  1. August 17, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Did you like Twilight? I finished Breaking Dawn on the Kindle a couple of days after it was released. Love that series! But of course, now I’m wondering how to share it with students when I’m a one-Kindle teacher. Surely there is a way, even if I limit it to use in the classroom (though I hate to do that).

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