The joys and benefits of reading have been apparent down through the ages, but in the internet age some fear literature is losing its allure. According to one scientific study carried out at Emory University in the United States, brain function can be boosted for days after reading a novel. In this edition of Learning World we explore efforts to encourage people to read more. Maha Barada presents three stories from around the world, examining the issue from different angles.
South Africa: Mobile Learning
In this story we look at the amazing work of a foundation that’s opened access to libraries for underprivileged kids in townships across the country. FunDza
uses the power of mobile phone technology to connect and interact with readers. Over 50,000 young South Africans access the site each month through smart phones, computers, and apps. As you will find out the initiative is having a big impact on South Africa’s literacy challenges.
Belgium: from page to screen
Are electronic books really replacing hard copy paper ones? And, if so, what consequences does that have on reading levels among young people? We visit a high school in Belgium where these questions are being explored through the extensive use of digital books in the classroom. It is a divisive issue in the world of education and there are no firm conclusions, but as we discover in this report iPads and e-books do have a role to play.
Portugal: everyone loves literature
The love of literature spans generations. In Portugal we meet a group of young people who put this lofty notion into practice by visiting retirement homes and reading to the residents. It’s a hugely rewarding experience for all involved, helping to build a bridge between young and old.