Cellphones May Help Literacy Rates


According to a study funded by PBS' Ready To Learn Initiative, cell phones could be one way to increase literacy rates among poorer kids.

The initiative is funded by the Department of Education, which has changed its focus to hone in on early childhood education, particularly among poorer and urban populations.

According to the study, which was of a Sesame Street segment streamed on phones by GoTV, parents said that their kids did better on their ABC's--the streamed segment was "Learning Letters with Elmo."

The study found the most impact was on those with households at or below the poverty level.

The survey was of eighty California parents with three and four-year-olds who were all given video phones and asked to listen to streamed literacy tips and have their kids watch the streamed Elmo clips at least three times a week.

Three-fourths of the parents at or below the poverty level said their kids knowledge of alphabet letters improved, while half of the those above the poverty level said the same thing.

Hurdles remain, including the time it takes to stream the clips, the drain on cellphone batteries, and parents' concern about kids using their cellphones.