Digital media promote reading and learning

It is still insufficiently known whether and how digital media contribute to the reading behavior of children and young people. To investigate this, the Reading Foundation, knowledge center for reading promotion and literature education, took the initiative in March 2016 to set up a special Chair in Reading and Digital Media at the University of Twente

It is still insufficiently known whether and how digital media contribute to the reading behavior of children and young people. To investigate this, the Reading Foundation, knowledge center for reading promotion and literature education, took the initiative in March 2016 to set up a special Chair in Reading and Digital Media at the University of Twente. On March 9, 2017, Prof. Dr. Eliane Segers will speak her lecture: 'Reading and digital media: a perspective on education'. As a professor by special appointment, she investigates whether children are more motivated to read by using new technological applications.

The Dutch have spent less time in the past sixty years reading books. Between 2013 and 2015, the reading time decreased from 5.2 to 4.8 hours per week. Young people in particular spend less time reading and only a small percentage read digital books. At the same time, they have a lot of affinity with digital media and that they often have them directly at their disposal.

Digital media help weak readers

Segers: "Digital media can be a reinforcement for the literate home environment. The idea that a child should not play with a tablet too early is not based on anything. Playing actively with a good app is really different from watching TV passively. Furthermore, digital media can help weak readers learn to read faster. With a specially developed app, the weakest readers (25% of the children) improved considerably with a reading task. "

Term digital natives a bit naive

Digital media support weak readers. Segers, however, finds it naïve to think that the children of today are digital natives, who would not have problems with digital media. "The processing of multimedia digital texts (hypermedia) requires skills that children do not just have. This requires good education and a number of things have to be included in teaching methods. In order to achieve this, the scientific world must pay more attention to the reading comprehension of hypermedia. "

Motivate to read more

Segers thinks that less and less is being read. "It is a challenge to investigate how digital media can motivate children to read more. Reading is an enrichment, it broadens knowledge about the world. The world needs children who are trained to become world citizens - with knowledge, with empathy. You get that by reading, both fiction and non-fiction. "

Research in a special chair in Reading and Digital Media

Segers' research focuses on the design of multimedia environments, the role of written language within this and the question of how reading within it is promoted. Can young people learn (learn) better, more often and with more pleasure through multimedia environments? And do they learn more in these environments? Stichting Lezen expects Segers' research to lead to more insight into the possibilities of technological developments for reading promotion.

The lecture will take place on 9 March at 16:00 in the Waaier building on the UT campus.