PC use fosters poorer reading skills among kids

CIOL Bureau
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LONDON, UK: Increased use of computers during leisure time is leading to poorer reading skills among children, a study says.


Monica Rosen, professor in education and special education at the Gothenburg University, Sweden, has analysed differences among various countries over time in order to explain the change in reading achievement among nine to 10-year olds.

Hungary, Italy, the US and Sweden have been included in all of the international comparisons.

Reading ability has improved steadily in Italy and Hungary, while it has fallen rapidly since 1991 in both the US and Sweden.


Swedish and American pupils described a large increase in the use of computers in their free time during this period, while a similar increase was not reported in Hungary or Italy, according to a Gothenburg statement.

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"Our study shows that the entry of computers into the home has contributed to changing children's habits in such a manner that their reading does not develop to the same extent as previously," says Rosen.


"By comparing countries over time, we can see a negative correlation between change in reading achievement and change in spare time computer habits which indicates that reading ability falls as leisure use of computers increases," adds Rosen.

The investigation shows that the frequency of leisure reading and the number of leisure books borrowed from the library have both fallen as computer use in the home has increased.

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Thus, it is not the computers in themselves or the activities they are used for that impair reading skills, but rather the way in which the computers have stolen time from leisure reading.

The new computer habits do not promote the development of reading ability in the same way as leisure reading of books does.