Digital Media Benefits Primary Prep: Research Reveals That Exposing Preschool Children to Educational Videos and Games Helps Them Move on to K-12 with Better Literacy Skills

T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), November-December 2009 | Go to article overview

Digital Media Benefits Primary Prep: Research Reveals That Exposing Preschool Children to Educational Videos and Games Helps Them Move on to K-12 with Better Literacy Skills


A new study shows that educational videos and interactive games can have a positive impact on preschooler literacy when incorporated into the curriculum in a classroom setting. According to the study, children whose teachers brought digital media into the classroom as part of the Ready to Learn program (http://pbskids. org/read/about) came out more with more advanced literacy skills and better prepared for kindergarten than those who were not exposed to such a program.

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The new study, "Summative Evaluation of the Ready to Learn Initiative," was conducted by Education Development Center (EDC; www.edc.org) and SRI International (www. sri.com) on behalf of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB; www.cpb.org). It focused on economically disadvantaged children in schools participating in Ready to Learn programs in New York City and San Francisco. Ready to Learn is an initiative funded in part by the US Department of Education and is operated by CPB, PBS (www.pbs.org), and the Ready to Learn Partnership (http://rtlp.org). It is designed to help improve literacy in students ages 2 to 8 using a variety of media tools and curriculum resources.

About 400 children in 80 classes from 47 different preschool centers participated in the study. Teachers were randomly assigned a 10-week curriculum--either literacy or science--with those using the science curriculum serving as the comparison group. Literacy teachers were given training and support and were asked to engage in "media-rich" activities with their students during the study period, which ran between January and June earlier this year. …

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