In recognition of World Book Day, UNESCO – along with Worldreader and Nokia – have just released the results of the largest survey on mobile reading in the developing world, which revealed that mobile devices can help significantly enhance people’s literacy skills.
According to the responses of nearly 5,000 people across seven developing countries, mobile reading can open educational opportunities to nearly seven billion people. The result? A massive reduction of illiteracy rates.
In places where physical books are scarce, mobile phones are plentiful. And while mobile phones are still used primarily for basic communication, even the simplest of phones are a gateway to long-form text, the study summary reads.
The study discovered that women and girls in particular are benefitting from having a new way to access books, reading up to six times more than men and boys, and that parents regularly read to children using mobile phones. The study also shows that a vast majority of people enjoy reading more on their mobile phones, and that mobile reading often reverses people’s negative attitudes towards reading.
“World illiteracy can be attributed in part to the fact that people have access to a very small number of books, or none at all in some areas of the world,” says David Risher, CEO of Worldreader. “Yet there are more cell phones on the planet than there are toilets or toothbrushes. Already kids and families have read more than 1.7 million Worldreader books –helping them attain a more prosperous, more self-reliant future.”