Preschool education is a key stage for reading skills. It is a period in which several language and cognitive abilities are developed, grouped under the term "early reading learning".
These are strongly predictive of students' later reading success and are influenced by factors such as parental involvement in reading, socio-economic background, language(s) spoken at home, and gender.
Digital media use is not strongly associated with early reading learning.
Given the steadily increasing presence of digital media in the daily lives of preschoolers and the rich exposure to the written word that they offer, it is conceivable that they could be an additional factor in predicting early reading learning. This project pursued the following research question: what are the effects of the use of digital media in the home on early reading learning as a function of parental involvement in reading, socio-economic background, language(s) spoken at home, and gender?
Data were collected from 133 families in the Montréal and Sherbrooke areas. The results indicate that digital media use was not strongly associated with early reading learning. Any influence on early reading learning was more negative than positive. The only positive predictor of early reading learning related to digital media was the number of digital books present in the home.
It is therefore reasonable to suppose that digital media use is in fact unfavourable to early reading learning insofar as digital media are little used for reading activities and that the time spent using them is time that could be invested in reading practices. In addition, socio-economic environment is consistently associated with early reading learning, while gender and spoken language have no significant effect.
Simon Collin, Université du Québec à Montréal
Call for proposals
Deposit of the research report: May 2020