Are E-Books Really Helping Students Improve Their Grades?

6/6/2014


E-books are reading materials that are in digital form and can be read on mobile phones, tablets, computers, and e-book readers. E-books are mostly for personal use; although some schools adopt e-books, they only serve as supplements to printed books that are used by students.


There are contentions that using e-books is an effective way of improving students’ comprehension skills in reading and in motivating them to read more. Various researches have been conducted to determine if e-books can indeed help improving students’ grades.


In 2008, a study conducted by Korat questioned if e-books can improve reading skills of selected students. The results of the study revealed that children exposed to e-books showed considerable improvement in recognizing words, pronouncing them and understanding their meanings. Several other studies showed similar findings on how e-books have a positive effect on a student’s learning progress.


Some favorable effects of using e-books in classroom are: First, children’s interest is aroused by the animation and other effects they cannot find in a printed book. The animation makes it easier for them to understand the story. For young children, colorful graphics are great attention grabbers. Children are excited to see more of these wonderful moving pictures and they continue to flip those pages until they have finished reading the whole story.


Second, e-books help widening students’ vocabulary and improve their understanding of the given word. Children can associate the words to the animation they see and they are able to recognize both the words and their meanings. Some e-books also come with a built-in dictionary which students can use to look up the meanings of words that they cannot comprehend. If a word seems difficult to pronounce, they can check its pronunciation in the e-book itself. Hence, students develop better understanding of words as well as the correct pronunciation of those words.


Third, studies have found out that those students who read a story using an e-book have a better grasp of the plot of the story. When they are asked to retell the story, they can do it better than those who read the selection using a two-dimensional book. This is attributed to the fact that the visual effects from a digital book enhance the reading experience of students and make it easier for students to recall the important scenes in the story which usually presents its plot.


Fourth, digital books provide children with a kind of experience that is different from reading a printed book. With electronic reading selections, characters in a story become alive and one is able to immerse himself in the story. Seeing the difficult words being illustrated by the use of graphics and listening to them enhance and deepen children's learning experiences.


Last, digital reading materials are found effective for group reading activities in terms of keeping students occupied and interested in what they are doing. In these studies, those who read printed books appeared to lose interest after a short while and tended to divert their attention to other things.


With these positive effects of using e-books in classroom, teachers must consider them as significant tools for learning that can greatly help students do better in school.

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