Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kindle and Reading

I've got a Kindle, but use it mostly when I'm travelling so that I can have access to reading material without having to haul around lots of books in my suitcase.  I hate running out of books. During more than one foreign vacation, I have been forced to track down bookstores that stock English-language titles and then pay exorbitant prices for them.  With the Kindle, this problem goes away.  Most of what I read on my Kindle is fiction, which is why I was interested to learn that researchers have found that readers using the Kindle were "'significantly' worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story."  This conclusion comes from a recent study of fifty readers who read the same short story (half on a Kindle and half on print) that was reported in The Guardian.  The readers were tested on "aspects of the story including objects, characters and setting," and the "'Kindle readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measure.'"  The researchers can't explain their findings, but speculate that it has something to do with the tactile quality of paper and the physical unfolding of the book as the reader progresses through the story.  "Perhaps this somehow aids the reader, providing more fixity and solidity to the reader's sense of unfolding and progress of the text, and hence the story."  The study doesn't address the issue of reading nonfiction works on a Kindle, but the results might carry over--the same researcher has found that "'students who read texts in print scored significantly better on the reading comprehension test than students who read the text digitally.'"  More research is being conducted to determine which devices (print, iPad, Kindle) are suitable for which types of content, and this research should help educators deal with the impact of digitization on learning.         

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

This was an interesting piece of research and I am very glad you blogged about it, Marie!