Do E-Readers increase students’ engagement in reading? (Grantee Research Outcome)

By Debra Sands

    Do E-Readers increase students’ engagement in reading? (Grantee Research Outcome)

    About the Author

    Debra Sands
    La Mesa, CA
    1 Article Published
    Debra Sands

    I serve students in Grades 4-8 at the La Mesa Arts Academy (LMAAC) in the La Mesa-Spring Valley (LMSV) School District. As I have two masters’ degrees, one in Teaching and one in School Counseling, my experience in education has been in two domains. I have worked in the LMSV school district for 25 years as a middle school teacher, school counselor, and intervention teacher. Prior to working at LMAAC, I taught 7th and 8th grade Language Arts, 7th grade Social Studies, Drama, Advancement Via Individual Determination and Study Skills. My role as an academic intervention teacher has afforded me the opportunity to work with students in Grades 4-8 who are identified as at-risk or English learners. This opportunity has enabled me to study ways to improve reading.

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    Project Summary

    The goal of this action research was to examine whether home access to e-readers would affect readers’ engagement in independent reading and their reading skills. E-readers (loaded with Internet browsers, literacy apps and skill building games) were used for the research. The devices were made available for students for use at home and at school to encourage independent reading. Twenty-four participating students in Grades four through eight checked out the e-readers for most of the school year. Students were given reading assessments at the start of the research project and at the end of the research project. Observations were made by survey questionnaires as well as reading logs which were submitted to their Language Arts teachers. The research results indicated that participants improved their reading skills as evidenced by post-assessment results. The majority of the students who used the e-reader devices completed and submitted the independent reading logs assigned to them by their Language Arts teachers and met the requirement of reading 100 pages per week.

    Project Context

    I had the opportunity to interact with students in Grades 4-8 who were identified as English Language Learners (ELL) in an English Language Development (ELD) class and as academically “at-risk” students in a Structured Study Hall class. Students in both classes were required to submit a weekly independent reading log to their Language Arts teachers after reading a minimum of 100 pages. In the past, students frequently failed to fulfill the independent reading log assignment and their grades in the Language Arts classes were impacted. When questioned about the situation, students communicated various complaints about the requirement including feeling dissatisfied with the school’s library books, not having adequate reading materials at home, or surmising that reading was a boring or difficult activity. In addition, some students who came from economically disadvantaged families did not have access to electronic devices in the home that could be utilized for the purpose of reading independently. Through this action-research project, e-readers were made available to me as a teacher-researcher, thus students were able to use e-readers at home and in classes. As an academic intervention teacher, the opportunity was beneficial not only to students, but to myself as the results would show whether e-readers are indeed helpful to ELL students and at-risk students.

    Project Goals, Methods and Outcome

    Research Goal and Significance

    The goal of this action research project was to examine whether e-readers are effective tools for student reading enjoyment and achievement among English Language Learners and students at-risk. The rationale was that the ELL students and students at-risk who could be described as reluctant readers might be encouraged to read by being offered a technological alternative to traditional reading materials. A reluctant reader, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is a reader who is “unwilling and hesitant; disinclined.” Increasing a person’s intrinsic motivation by any means to read would likely result in that person reading more frequently. In this action research, I utilized a technological alternative (e-reader) to motivate these students to read. Additionally, an increased amount of reading offers more opportunities to improve reading skills such as fluency, decoding, and comprehension. A study showed that e-readers made no significant difference in the reading assessment results of students who used an e-reader digital text format and those who used the traditional paper/text format (Long & Szabo, 2016); however, the students in this study were limited to using the devices for guided reading instruction. It is likely that they had little or no choice regarding the content of the materials they read. In the present study, students were provided access to an electronic tool that was planned to positively impact their enjoyment in the act of reading. The effects of e-readers were expected to be positive as analyzed by reading assessment scores, student survey responses, and the tracking of completed independent reading assignments.

    Research Method

    Participating Students

    Twenty-four students participated in the action research project including three 4th graders, six 5th graders, six 6th graders, seven 7th graders and two 8th graders. Seven of the students were identified English Learners enrolled in an ELD class. One student was identified as Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) after meeting the criteria to be re-designated midway through the year. Three of the students were evaluated approximately six months into the school year and qualified for Special Education. Two of those students were also English Learners but were moved out of the ELD class and into Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI) classes. Five participants were enrolled in a Language Arts Support class for remediation of skills and two participants were part of a Structured Study Hall class to obtain assistance with homework completion. Two participants had advanced reading assessment scores when the action research project began.

    Project Activities and Procedure

    Preparation for e-reader device check-out procedure. After the e-readers were properly set up for distribution through the school library, I explained the purpose of the action research study to the students who were candidates for using the devices. I stated that the action research would help determine if using a device increased independent reading. Students were reassured that the choice to use or not use the device was voluntary and would in no way affect their grade. I reinforced the idea that the e-readers could also be used simply for the purposes of looking up the definitions of words in a digital dictionary or playing games. I answered questions about when and where the e-readers could be used. I stressed that traditional paper books could still be utilized as reading material and teachers would not be monitoring their use of e-readers. I also brought an e-reader device to an English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) meeting to discuss how the devices would be available for checkout and to answer questions. It was then announced to students that the e-readers could be checked out on a first-come, first-serve basis. A record of the students’ names and assigned devices was kept to ensure that all devices could be collected at the end of the school year.

    Parent permission and e-reader device care instruction. The participating students in this action research were first given a parent permission slip with an attached list of suggestions regarding how to properly care for the device. The parents were informed that checking out an e-reader device would be akin to checking out a library or textbook, and that it needed to be returned in working order before the end of the year. The consequence for not returning the e-reader device would be the same as if a student did not return a textbook. The students were told it would be required for them to complete an online survey at the beginning and end of the action-research project. Once the parent permission slips were collected and the completion of the online survey was verified, students were assigned a device using the serial number and given a charging cable. Students were responsible for finding an adapter that would work with the charging cable and keeping the device charged.

    Preparation and Instructions for e-reader use for reading improvement. I helped each student navigate through the library embedded into their device and demonstrated how to access the Internet portal. Using a school-approved communication system, I sent an email with a link for the online technical manual that provided instructions for Wi-Fi setup to the parents. Throughout the months that students had the e-readers, I added new titles to their libraries via “Whispercast.” Whispercast provides a teacher account free of charge that is connected to the Amazon account I used to purchase the devices through the grant I received from the school district’s educational foundation. It enables the account holder to select a particular title, download it into the Whispercast class account and then request the text to be pushed out to some or all of the devices identified in the class account. Once the request is made, the process happens automatically in minutes and does not require the students to do anything. Of the many free titles available, I chose dozens of stories from various genres that were age-appropriate for students. If a student wanted to read a particular title not available, they could make a request for me to upload it into their device’s library.

    Post project activities. At the end of the action research project, students were summoned to re-take the “Literably” test and complete the same online survey that had been given at the beginning of the year. They were also given a due date for returning the loaned equipment and encouraged to check out an e-reader again next year.

    Measures and Analysis

    In this action-research project, I used survey questions, the Literably reading assessment, and independent reading logs.

    Survey Questions on Reading. Students were given an online questionnaire that included subjective questions about reading. Most questions were designed using 3- to 5-point Likert scales. Checkboxes were used for some questions, and one question required students to type an answer. The survey questions include the following.

    Question 1: How much do you enjoy independent reading?

    • 1= don’t enjoy independent reading at all.
    • 5 = I love independent reading.

    Question 2: Has your enjoyment of reading changed in the past year?

    • I enjoyed reading last year and still enjoy reading this year.
    • I enjoy reading more this year than I did last year.
    • I enjoy reading less now than I did last year.

    Question 3: When it comes to fulfilling the independent reading requirement in your Language Arts class, you are a student who…

    • Always reads 100 pages or more per week and always turn in my independent reading log completed
    • Usually reads 100 pages or more per week and usually turn in my independent reading log completed
    • Sometimes reads 100 pages or more per week and sometimes turn in my independent reading log completed
    • Rarely reads 100 pages or more and rarely turn in my independent reading log completed
    • Never reads 100 pages or more and never turn in my independent reading log completed

    Question 4: When you are reading independently, what genres do you enjoy the most? (Check all that apply)

    • Non-fiction
    • Drama
    • Historical
    • Horror
    • Comedy
    • Science Fiction/Fantasy
    • Biographical
    • Action/Adventure

    Question 5: How much time would you engage in independent reading even if there was no requirement?

    • 1 = 0 hours per day
    • 5 = 2 or more hours per day

    Question 6: Which reading skills do you feel you need to improve today?

    • Recognizing the words in a text (decoding)
    • Reading the words correctly and clearly (fluency)
    • Learning the meaning of the words (vocabulary)
    • Understanding what you read (comprehension)

    Question 7: What would help you enjoy reading more? (Select all that apply.)

    • View more pictures/animation to go with the text I am reading
    • Hearing a recorded version of the text
    • Having more interesting choices of reading materials
    • Having the ability to annotate text that I read (examples: highlight, underline)
    • The convenience of carrying a lightweight device instead of heavy books
    • The ability to look up word definitions in an easily accessible dictionary
    • The fun factor of using technology

    Question 8: What e-reader features would you be interested in using if you checked out an e-reader? Check all that apply.

    • Access to libraries using the Internet
    • Apps or games that help strengthen literacy skills
    • Pre-loaded chapter book and/or non-fiction materials for independent reading
    • The ability to listen to text being narrated
    • The ability to magnify text
    • Other reasons not listed

    Question 9: If you had an opportunity to use an e-reader device for the purpose of independent reading, how do you predict it would impact your level of enjoyment?

    • 1=Using an e-reader would make no difference in whether or not I enjoy independent reading.
    • 5=Using an e-reader would help me enjoy reading independently much more.

    Question 10: If you had the opportunity to use an e-reader device for the purpose of completing the weekly reading log assignment, how do you predict it would impact your level of enjoyment?

    • 1=Using an e-reader would make no difference in whether or not I completed my reading log assignment.
    • 5=Using an e-reader would definitely help me complete my reading log assignment.

    Question 11: Your current grade in Language Arts is:

    • A+/A/A-
    • B+/B/B-
    • C+/C/C-
    • D+/D/D-
    • F

    Question 12: Why do you think it might be advantageous for a student to enjoy reading?

    The responses from the survey questions were to be analyzed to determine if there was any increase in the student’s motivation to read.

    Reading Assessment Scores

    Students’ reading skills in fluency, decoding, and comprehension were measured via the Literably Online Reading Assessment. The assessment was accessed by each student through a Literably app on an iPad at the beginning of the project and also at the end of the project. The assessment provided students with a leveled passage that they read out loud. Their reading sample was recorded and evaluated by a professional grader. Students were also required to answer five comprehension questions that related to the passage. Beginning-of-the-year scores were compared to end-of-the-year scores to detect growth in fluency, decoding, and comprehension skills.

    Independent Reading Logs

    Students submitted a weekly reading log to their Language Arts teacher indicating how many pages were read during the week. The minimum requirement for the reading log assignment was 100 pages. The number of times the students submitted a reading log that met the requirement was tracked.

    Results and Discussion

    The student responses to survey questions, Literably Reading Assessment scores, and data from independent reading logs were analyzed, and results and discussion are presented in three sections.

    Student Responses to Survey Questions on Reading

    At the beginning of the year, all 51 students who were eligible for this research project took the online reading survey. Of the 51 students, 24 students participated in the project. Of the 24 students, 22 took the same online reading survey at the end of the year. The ELD classroom teacher decided to give the initial survey to all students in the class instead of limiting the survey to students who expressed a desire to check out a device. Informal interviews with students who did not take the device and questionnaire data indicated that some students already had their own devices, some did not want to risk losing or damaging school equipment, and still others preferred paper books to digital text (13 of 51 students, 25%).

    After the pre-project-activity survey data were collected, I realized that the student identifications that I needed to use to match with post-activity survey data were missing. Due to this error, comparisons between pre and post data could not be performed. Reported here are the results from analysis of students’ responses to survey questions collected at the end of the project activities. Some questions include items that compared reading behaviors this year with last year and others items provide useful information regarding students’ reading behaviors or preferences.

    On Question 1, students selected a number between one and five that indicated how much they enjoyed independent reading from great enjoyment (“love”) to no enjoyment. Of the 22 students who responded, 5 students (23%) indicated “loving” independent reading, followed by 7 (32%) enjoying, 8 (36%) neutral, 2 (9%) enjoying not much, and 2 students (9%) not enjoying independent reading at all. Overall, more students enjoyed independent reading (n = 12; 55%) as compared to students who did not enjoy (n = 4; 18%). However, whether or not this positive result is related with use of the e-reader is not certain due to losing pre-activity data.

    When students were asked if their enjoyment of reading has changed (Question 2), 14 of 22 students (64%) indicated that they enjoyed reading now (at the time of the post-survey) more than they did last year; 5 students (23%) enjoyed reading last year and still enjoy reading this year; and 3 students (14%) enjoyed reading less now than they did last year. This result demonstrated that the majority of participants felt that reading was more enjoyable in the current year possibly due to using their e-reader.

    On Question 3, 9 of 22 students (41%) indicated that they always read 100 pages or more per week and turn in the reading log; 4 students (18%) usually; 4 students (18%) sometimes ; 3 students (14%) rarely; and 2 students (9%) never read 100 pages or more per week and never turn in the reading log. The majority of readers (13; 59%) either always or usually completed the Language Arts weekly independent reading assignment. Nine students (41%) only completed the Language Arts weekly independent reading assignment sometimes, rarely, or never. Although this trend seems to show an improvement with e-reader use, the improvement rate cannot be provided.

    Question 4 regarded students’ choice of genres for their independent reading. Students indicated that they enjoyed action adventure stories above all other genres (21; 95%) followed by comedies (15; 68%). Students enjoyed non-fiction, drama, and horror similarly (10; 45% for each genre). Less than 10 students selected each of the following genres: biography (6; 27%), science fiction (5; 23%), with history being the least preferred genre (4; 18%). Students’ choice of action adventure stories as their favorite genre seems to coincide with the most popular genre for blockbuster films shown in movie theaters. In general, the pattern of genre choices indicates that the participating students prefer to read for entertainment.

    Question 5 asked students how much time per day they would read independently even when reading is not required. It was found that some students were confused with the scale, as some thought “day” meant “week.” Data from this item was discarded.

    On Question 6, students were asked what reading skills they needed to improve today. Five of 22 students (23%) indicated that they needed to improve the ability to recognize words in a text (decoding); 9 students (41%) wanted to improve the ability to read words correctly and clearly (fluency); 10 students (45%) wanted to improve their ability to learn the meanings of new words (vocabulary); and 9 students (41%) wanted to improve their ability to understand what they read (comprehension). Overall, slightly less than half of the participating students recognized the need for improvement in the areas of vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension, and to a lesser degree in the area of decoding. The result suggests that the participating students who consist of English Language Learners and/or academically “at risk” students require more assistance in these reading areas, although most students seem to be confident in their ability to decode words. Although comparisons between pre- and post-project activities cannot be made, it can be stated that the e-reader might have helped students gain more confidence in these reading areas, as e-reader has built-in functions to help users improve reading skills. For example, the e-reader has the capacity of providing instant access to dictionaries to help students strengthen vocabulary-building skills. Other e-reader functions embedded in e-readers are shown below in discussion of Question 7.

    When students were asked to indicate what would help them enjoy reading more (Question 7), 11 students (50%) said accessing pictures and animation related to the texts would make reading more enjoyable, followed by hearing recorded versions of the text (9; 41%), access to more interesting choices of reading materials (8; 36%), having the ability to annotate text (2; 9%), the convenience of carrying a lightweight device (vs. heavy books) (4; 18%), the ability to look up word definitions in an easily accessible dictionary (8; 36%), and the fun factor associated with using technology (8; 36%). This result indicates that the reading experience of students is enhanced when they have access to images or animation. Students also indicated that hearing recorded versions of text was appealing. Some English Learners have expressed that their mastery of the English language is augmented when they hear a model reading of a text.

    On Question 8, students were asked to select the technical features they would be most interested in using on their e-reader device. Of the 22 students surveyed, 10 students (45%) selected the feature of having access to libraries via the Internet; 12 students (55%) selected access to apps or games that help strengthen literacy skills; 12 students (55%) selected access to pre-loaded chapter books and/or non-fiction materials for independent reading; 11 students (50%) selected audio text narration; 8 students (36%) selected the feature of being able to magnify or enlarge text; and 4 students (18%) selected other reasons not listed. It was not surprising to find that the students were most interested in accessing the e-reader’s game apps since they frequently asked permission to play games when using the e-reader in the classroom. However, most of the e-reader features that could help strengthen reading skills were chosen by about half of the participating students, perhaps indicating that the e-reader device was viewed positively by them one way or another.

    When students were asked to predict how using an e-reader device might impact their level of enjoyment of independent reading (Question 9), about one-third of the participating students (7; 32%) indicated a neutral stance. Five students (23%) indicated strong impact of e-reader on their level of enjoyment in independent reading (would read much more); 3 students (14%) somewhat impact; and 4 students (14%) slight impact. Four students (18%) said that the e-reader would have no impact on their level of enjoyment with independent reading. This result demonstrated that students may have been unsure of how an e-reader might impact their desire to read independently. However, several students needed clarification on the meaning of the question itself. In retrospect, the words and sentence composition might not have been appropriate to the participating students who have difficulties reading English. Thus, this result may not portray the impact rate accurately. An edited version of this question should be used in future research.

    On Question 10, students were asked to use a Likert scale to gauge the impact that using an e-reader device would have on their level of enjoyment toward completing their weekly reading log assignment for Language Arts. Of the 22 students who responded, 3 students (14%) chose the number 5 to indicate that use of e-reader would definitely impact their level of enjoyment; 6 students (27%) chose 4 (lesser impact than 5); 8 students (36%) chose 3 (lesser impact than 4); 2 students (9%) chose 2 (lesser impact than 3); and lastly 2 students (9%) chose 1 to indicate use of e-reader would have no impact on their enjoyment toward reading log assignment. It seems that students were unsure of how the e-reader would impact their future enjoyment in completing the weekly independent reading log assignment. Similar problems found with Question 9 might apply to this item. Consequently, this result may not depict the impact rate accurately. For future research, an edited version of this question should be used.

    The current grade in Language Arts reported by students (Question 11) showed that 13 of 22 students (59%) indicated they were earning an A grade; 6 (27%) earning a B grade; 2 (9%) earning an F grade. This result indicated that the majority of students were earning an A in their Language Arts class. The direct impact of e-reader usage is unknown, but most students using the e-readers were exceeding expectation, although some of the students (9%) using the e-readers were not earning a passing grade at the time they completed the questionnaire.

    When asked why it might be advantageous for a student to enjoy independent reading (Question 12), students offered the following comments:
    • “It can help them more on their Language Arts class and more new vocabulary.”
    • “Because you will learn more English.”
    • “It might be advantageous because it helps you with learning and listening.”
    • “I think a student enjoying reading is more advantageous because it can help them get accepted into college and get a good job in the future.”
    • “So that you can know more.”
    • “It gives you a chance to escape from the world that we are in and you can escape to the world in the book.”

    Since some of the students expressed irritation with having to “type” an answer to this question, it is possible that there were cases of students responding with an answer designed to please the teacher and/or quickly finish the survey. It is also possible that it might be difficult for some students to actually articulate how independent reading differs from on-demand reading. However, taken at face value, these responses indicate an overall favorable perspective regarding the use of e-readers and recognition of the utility of e-reader devices.

    Reading Assessment

    The Literably Reading Assessment offers 24 levels of reading from Level A to Level Z. Level A equates to a kindergarten reading level. Level Z equates to a seventh grade reading level. After an assessment is completed and scored, the following information is provided:
    • Word count per minute
    • Decoding score
    • Comprehension score (based on 5 questions related with the passage)
    • Recommended level for an individual’s next assessment

    The assessment was given to 24 students at the beginning of the action-research project and 22 students at the end of the project. Two students who checked out e-readers were not tested because their scores from the previous year were already above grade level. The assessment results showed an increase in word count per minute for 13 (59%) of the 22 students tested, an increase in decoding for 14 students (64%), and an increase in comprehension for 8 students (36%). It was recommended that 7 of the 22 students be tested in the future using a higher-level passage.

    These results indicate that the e-readers may have made the reading experience more pleasurable for students which in turn had a positive impact on their reading skills. When analyzing test results, I think it is important to reflect on how students have engaged in reading prior to taking the assessment as well as maturation effects. Have they had positive or negative reading experiences? If their experiences have been positive, it is more likely that they will end up with successful results on reading assessments. If their reading experiences have been neutral or negative, the outcome may not be the same. Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to teach Language Arts and observe other Language Arts teachers in action. When it comes to traditional Language Arts reading lessons, teachers typically select a story from a textbook, novel or other source that the entire class reads together or in small groups. In some cases, the teacher reads the story out loud or plays an audio version. In other cases, the students take turns reading out loud or read the text independently.

    There are several factors that can make the reading experience a negative one. For example, some students are uncomfortable when they are asked to read in front of their peers. Some students are bored with the material they are required to read. Some students are not strong visual learners, so reading with one’s eyes is not as enjoyable as hearing it read aloud. Some students need reading remediation in order to be able to decode and comprehend what they are reading. All of these factors play into a student’s perception of whether reading is a pleasant or unpleasant activity. The e-reader devices give students more choices and control over their reading experience. Students can select what they want to read, when they want to read, where they want to read, and how much they want to read without the limitations present in the Language Arts classroom reading experience. An e-reader is not meant to replace the Language Arts curriculum, but it can help empower students by giving them a tool that makes reading a more “independent” and therefore positive experience.

    Independent Reading Log

    Of the 24 participating students, 2 students who were evaluated and qualified for Special Education mid-year did not have the 100-page weekly reading requirement in their SAI classes, leaving 22 students to evaluate. Thirteen of the 22 (59%) participating students fulfilled their obligation to independently read 100 pages on a weekly basis as evidenced by reading logs submitted to their Language Arts teachers. Six students (27%) fulfilled their obligation between 50% to 100% of the time when logs were collected, and 3 students (14%) fulfilled their obligation less than 50% of the time that logs were collected.

    Most students who had checked out an e-reader for use during the school year met the weekly independent reading requirement. However, it is unknown whether or not the same results would have been achieved without access to the e-reader device. The majority of students in this school tend to be highly motivated to complete their assignments since many of them must maintain good grades to be permitted to perform in their elective classes (e.g., dance, theater, band, or choir). As a result, they might have consistently submitted the required reading logs regardless of any tools they had at their disposal.

    However, the e-reader device offers practicality and efficiency. Those are advantages that may have made an impact on the amount of time students could dedicate to independent reading. For example, fewer trips to the library or bookstore were necessary for those students who had e-readers since the devices had embedded libraries loaded with over 100 titles. If a student didn’t enjoy a book they selected after reading a few pages, he or she could instantly choose another one from the device’s library without having to physically return a book. When students check out books in the school library, they are limited to one or two books, and must return them by a certain due date. With the e-reader device, students had unlimited time to read as many books as they wished within the school year.

    Furthermore, certain popular books in the school library are inaccessible to students if the one or two copies of that particular title have already been checked out by others. With e-readers, every student has their own copy of each title pushed out from the Whispercast account. In addition, no expenses were involved in purchasing or shipping new titles since the books selected for the e-reader libraries were free. This isn’t the case for school libraries. Budgets for school library books are limited, so school library collections often have fewer new titles to offer.


    The data collected provides some evidence that the use of e-readers helped motivate students to read independently on a more frequent basis, indicated by their level of enjoyment in reading and reading time. Since an increase in reading time generates more opportunities to practice reading skills, some students achieved growth in fluency, decoding, and comprehension based on their Literably reading assessment results. Though the results indicate some improvement, there are many variables that impact test scores. For example, a student’s physical and/or emotional wellbeing when tested could affect performance. In addition, because students had more experience with the test the second time it was taken, as well as more opportunities to have practiced reading skills in core classes throughout the school year, the effects on reading skills are not clear. Future studies should include factors that potentially influence test performance to account for e-reader effects beyond other factors.

    Finally, the Literably test is a limited snapshot of a student’s reading ability. The professional graders who score the test only listen to the first minute of a student’s recording. Consequently, students do not have an opportunity to warm-up and/or mitigate any test anxiety. Similarly, in the comprehension section of the Literably test, there are only five questions. Missing just one question significantly impacts the comprehension score. These limitations should be mitigated by adding another reading ability test, so the reliability estimates of more than one reading assessment can be compared in an effort to determine students’ ability to read.

    It is also important to reiterate that the data collected from the questionnaire was flawed due to the missing critical information on the questionnaire (participants’ identification number). Consequently, comparisons of questionnaire data collected before using the e-readers and after using the e-readers could not be performed. I now understand the process more clearly and would address the situation differently in future action research projects.

    Reflections on Preparing Electronic Devise: Lessons learned

    Convenience and portability are two of the most attractive reasons for using e-readers; however, there were numerous issues involved in the set-up of the devices for this action research project. An inordinate amount of time was spent preparing the devices for usage. Even though new devices were purchased, the operating version of the devices was not current as a result of the equipment being stored in a warehouse for an extended time. Updating the systems of each device required many phone calls to the distributor’s customer service department. It also involved answering numerous questions from parents who were unable to connect the device to their home wifi system. Moreover, the firewalls embedded into the school’s wifi system created several obstacles that required the district IT specialists to become involved. The devices were supposed to provide direct access to local library collections, but the technicians were unable to program the devices to enable a connection. Even after all of those technical issues were addressed, there were instances when students forgot to charge their e-reader, so it was sometimes necessary to interrupt the agenda to charge a device in the classroom.

    Other Positive Outcomes of E-Readers Research

    In spite of those issues, the e-readers have shown to be a sound investment. Some Language Arts teachers reported satisfaction with seeing the devices used in class by students the teachers identified as reluctant readers. Parents who attended ELAC meetings expressed appreciation that such a valuable tool for their children to use at home had been provided by the school. Community donors, independent of the La Mesa Spring Valley Educational Foundation, were impressed with the functionality of the devices and donated several more to create a complete class set. Most students who borrowed the e-readers for the action research asked if they could be checked out again next year. E-readers simply provide another option teachers can use to encourage independent reading. The hope is that both current users and new users will take advantage of the e-readers for years to come and enjoy the numerous advantages the devices offer.


    Long, D., & Szabo, S. (2016). E-readers and the effects on students’ reading motivation, attitude and comprehension during guided reading. Cogent Education, 3(1).

    Short, L. A. (2010). Using Electronic Books to Increase Students’ Motivation to Read. Master’s Theses and Capstone Projects.

    To cite this work, please use the following reference:

    Sands, D. (2018, May 2). Do E-Readers increase students’ engagement in reading? Social Publishers Foundation.

    Copyrighted by Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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