Increasing reading literacy with cellphones

Cellphones ignite a ‘reading revolution’ in poor countries

The report, released today, examines the reading habits of nearly 5,000 mobile-phone users in seven countries — Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe — where the average illiteracy rate among children is 20 percent, and 34 percent among adults. (The US, by comparison, has an adult illiteracy rate of around three percent.) UNESCO describes the survey as the largest ever undertaken on mobile reading in the developing world, and its results are encouraging: people are reading more, they’re reading to their children, and they’re hungry for more content.

“A key conclusion from this study is that mobile devices can help people develop, sustain and enhance their literacy skills,” lead author Mark West, of UNESCO, said in a statement. “This is important because literacy opens the door to life-changing opportunities and benefits.”

I continually hear that the screen is too small to be of any use in reading (or writing for that matter). Hopefully more research like this will help extinguish that myth.

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