UN study: Cellphones can improve literacy

April 23, 2014

A study by the U.N. education agency says cellphones are getting more and more people to read in countries where books are rare and illiteracy is high.

Paris-based UNESCO says 774 million people worldwide cannot read, and most people in sub-Saharan Africa don't own any books but cellphones are increasingly widespread. The report Wednesday by UNESCO says of people in such countries are reading books and stories on "rudimentary small-screen devices."

It says a third of study participants read stories to children from cellphones. It also says people who start reading on a mobile device go on to read more period, improving their overall literacy.

The study was conducted among 4,000 people in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

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