Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers catch flack for threatening the future of printed books. But reading itself may get a boost from the devices. For example, a study of struggling students found that the kids felt better about reading after a course in which they used Amazon Kindles. The research is in the International Journal of Applied Science and Technology. [Twyla Miranda et al., "Reluctant Readers in Middle School: Successful Engagement with Text Using the E-Reader"]
For two months, 199 middle-schoolers in a reading improvement class in Texas had 15 to 25 minutes every day when they were free to read on the Kindle. In general, the students felt the device improved their reading ability. And they tended to enjoy using an e-reader.
They noted the ease of carrying multiple books in one device, and the feeling that reading was suddenly a high-tech 21st-century activity rather than a boring waste of time. And some low-level readers who might otherwise be embarrassed to be seen with a simple book liked keeping their peers in the dark about what title they were reading. In the old days, one had to use a fake book-cover to achieve that level of secrecy.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]