Jan Björklund visiting Stureskolan in Örebro. Photo: Ulrika Lindahl/Svergiges Radio Örebro

Swedish children use tablets to write faster

A Swedish researcher says that when children can make words by simply pushing buttons they can learn to read and write faster.

Åke Grönlund is professor of Informatics at Örebro University. He says to Swedish Radio that children can write faster using a keyboard, and so they can go straight to reading and understanding. Which means they start sooner using language to actually communicate "which is what it's for" he says.

The Örebro university project is about children "writing their way to reading". Researchers studied children aged six to seven in Swedish schools, who were encouraged to write using computer tablets. Websites were used, where the children could share their texts with each other and comment on the results.

The children who were writing on computers learnt how to read and write faster than other children of the same age. Even the ones that had trouble with reading and writing did better once they had put down their pens.

Professor Åke Grönlund says, though, that this doesn't mean that simply buying a computer is the answer. He says that children and teachers have to work in a way that uses the benefits that computers offer. And that its sharing documents and communicating lots using writing that is the key.

The minister for education, Jan Björklund, visited a school in Örebro, to talk about reading. He says to Swedish Radio that every school needs to teach in a way that's backed up by research, but that there are many different ways to learn to read, and he welcomes all of them - as long as people know what they're doing.

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