Friday, April 9, 2021

Print vs. Online Reading Meta-Analysis

 A recent meta-analysis found that children ages 1 to 8 were less likely to understand picture books if they read the ebook version instead of the print version, but only when the ebook didn't have effective enhancements. For the analysis, researchers examined more than 39 studies involving more than 1,800 children. Though generally print picture books outperformed their digital counterparts in terms of reader comprehension, if the ebooks contained enhancements that reinforced story content not only did the print advantage go away but students learned more. Adults’ mediation during print books’ reading was more effective than the enhancements in digital books read by children independently. However, with story-congruent enhancements, digital books outperformed paper books. An embedded dictionary had no or negative effect on children’s story comprehension but positively affected children’s vocabulary learning.

Furenes, M., Kucirkova, Review of Educational Research.   

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

COVID19 impact on libraries report

ALA published “State of America’s Libraries Special Report: COVID-19,” which serves as “a snapshot of the library communities’ resilience, determination, and innovation in unprecedented circumstances. The State of America’s Libraries report is released annually during National Library Week, April 4–10, and this year’s issue focuses on the impact of the novel coronavirus on all types of libraries during the previous calendar year.” An example of the findings: “Coronavirus opened a floodgate of misinformation. Library staff worked to eradicate misinformation about COVID-19, which was infused with xenophobia and especially Sinophobia, resulting in a surge of bigotry against Asian or Chinese people. Throughout 2020, librarians responded to misinformation about vaccines, the census, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the 2020 Presidential Election.”

Additionally, “attempts to remove library materials continued during the pandemic, despite many libraries and schools closing or moving their activities and services online. …  In 2020, more than 273 books were challenged or banned. Demands to remove books addressing racism and racial justice or those that shared the stories of Black, Indigenous, or people of color grew in number. At the same time, books addressing themes and issues of concern for LGBTQIA+ people continued to dominate the list.” The top 10 most challenged books of 2020 were the following:

  1. George by Alex Gino
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Monday, March 22, 2021

Print vs pixel picture book studies

 "A new analysis of all the research on digital picture books, published in March 2021, helps to answer this question. The answer isn’t clear cut: paper generally has an edge over digital but there are exceptions. Digital books can be a better option with nonfiction texts and for building vocabulary. Some digital storybooks were better; researchers found that certain types of story-related extras seemed to boost a child’s comprehension but they were rare. In large part, the research on digital picture books for children echoes what we’ve seen in studies of e-books for adults. Reading comprehension is superior on paper but the benefit of paper appears to be stronger for adults and smaller for children. Scholars think the reasons behind the brain’s preference for paper may be different for the two groups. In the case of adults, it may be a lack of effort that we’re putting into reading on screens. In the case of children, it may be that many of the bells and whistles that are commonly added to digital picture books — buttons to click on, pop ups, games and sounds — are distracting." (J. Barshay, ), March 21, 2021)

Furenes, M., Kucirkova, N., & Bus, A. (March, 2021). A comparison of children's reading on paper versus screen: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research

Friday, March 19, 2021

COVID-19 impact studies

The coronavirus pandemic along with remote instruction are affecting students' academic progress, as well as their overall well-being, according to a CDC study. Of parents surveyed, 25% of those whose children are learning remotely said their children's mental or emotional health had worsened -- compared with 16% of those whose children are learning in person.

Verlenden JV, Pampati S, Rasberry CN, et al. Association of Children’s Mode of School Instruction with Child and Parent Experiences and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic — COVID Experiences Survey, United States, October 8–November 13, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:369–376. DOI:

Oral reading fluency stalled for many second- and third-grade students last spring, according to a study by researchers from the Stanford Graduate School of Education. found that students currently in second and third grade are now approximately 30% behind what would be expected in a typical year in reading fluency. Additionally, the study found that there was an inequitable impact, with students in historically lower-achieving districts — which often serve a greater share of low-income and minority students — developing reading skills at a slower rate than those in higher-achieving ones. The study adds that these are populations that were disproportionately affected by the pandemic in ways that impinge on their readiness to learn, including lack of access to computers, reliable internet access or a parent at home.

Dominique, B., et al. (2021). Changing patterns of growth in oral reading fluency during the COVID-10 pandemic. PACE.

Monday, February 22, 2021

PBL Study

 Project-based learning could improve outcomes for all students, according to two studies. The studies found that half of students who engaged in project-based learning passed Advanced Placement exams -- higher than the rate in traditional classrooms -- and that students from low-income households made similar progress as peers from wealthier ones.

Saavedra, A. et al. (2021). Knowledge in action: Efficacy study over two years. Los Angeles, CA: USC.

Krajcik J. et al. (2020). Assessing the Effect of Project-Based Learning on Science Learning in Elementary Schools. Lucas Educational Foundation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Online vs F2F learning and stress study

 High-school students who have at least some amount of in-classroom learning are less likely to report stress and worry than their peers who are learning fully online, according to a recent study. The survey of 10,000 students at 12 high schools also found that remote students were more likely to worry about their grades and less likely to have an adult to speak with about a personal issue.

Challenge Success and NBC News. (2021). Kids under pressure. Challenge Success.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Study on strategies to curb student learning loss during the pandemic


Researchers say early data shows the pandemic is taking a toll on student learning. They concluded that children have lost at least one and a half months of reading, with students of color faring worse. And some experts say the loss could be even worse because some of the most vulnerable students may not be regularly attending class online or taking assessments this year. The report  details five strategies schools are taking to curb these losses: tutoring; lengthening the school year; ensuring learning materials are at grade level; partnering with community organizations; and tapping parents as partners in boosting literacy.
Dorn, E. et al. (2020, Dec. 8). COVID19 and learning loss. McKinsey.