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Research & Reports


Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8 to 18 Year-Olds

Author: Victoria J. Rideout, Ulla G. Foehr, and Donald F. Roberts; Kaiser Family Foundation

Summary: The study shows data behind media use and ownership among young people over the past 5 years, which includes television, music/audio, computer, video games, print, and movies, with even more specified media in each category. It compares media use across ages, races, and genders. It also explores the relationship with other things such as physical activity and grades, as well as people’s purpose in using media.

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Tags: Books and Other Reading Materials; Intervention; Parent Involvement and Outreach / PTA;

Target Population: Elementary, Middle, High School

Research Questions the Report Poses: Which media are young people using, and how much? How does media use vary across ages and races?


  • Kids are using media more than ever in the past.
  • Media consumption varies by age: 11-14-year-olds consume the most by far (12 hours a day); younger kids (8-10-year-olds) read more than older kids; older teenagers (15-18-year-olds) listen to more music than anyone else.
  • Boys consume more media than girls, especially in video games and computers, though girls spend more time on social media, music, and print media.
  • The disparity in media use between races has drastically increased (doubled) since 2004- Minority kids (Black and Hispanic) use 4.5 hours more of media than do white kids.

Policy Recommendations:
The findings should be used by policymakers addressing national media policies, parents curious of their children’s media habits, and educators, advocates, and public health groups concerned with the impact of media on youth, and those interested in the educational and informational potential of media in young people’s lives.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:

Rideout, V.J., Foehr U.G., & Roberts D.F. (2010) Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-to 18-Year-OIds. Washington, D.C.: Kaiser Family Foundation.

Improving Reading Across Subject Areas With Word Generation

Author: Lawrence, J.F., Snow, C.E. & White, C. Harvard Graduate School of Education.


In this report, there is evidence that vocabulary instruction can have an important and lasting impact on student word learning. Compared with their native English-speaking peers, language minority students on average have lower reading performance in English. While numerous factors account for this gap, researchers have pointed to differences in word knowledge as part of the explanation. Language minority students have both less depth and less breadth of vocabulary.

There is reason to think, that a robust vocabulary intervention that targets academic language may improve vocabulary and reading comprehension in the short run while also supporting the struggling reader's facility at learning new words independently. The research project described here presents findings from an unmatched quasi-experiment of the Word Generation Program, an intervention firmly grounded in what is currently known about effective practice, while also casting light on how enhanced vocabulary levels relate to improved reading comprehension. The goal of Word Generation is to improve vocabulary so that it results in improved reading comprehension; clearly, short-term vocabulary learning will not generate long-term comprehension improvement.

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Target Population: Middle School (6th, 7th, 8th grades)

Research Questions the Report Poses: Can the 'Word Generation Program' improve the vocabulary and reading skills of English Language Learners?


  • Descriptive statistics show that students in the Word Generation Program learned approximately the number of words that differentiated eighth from sixth graders on the pretest. In other words, participation in 20–22 weeks of the curriculum was equivalent to two years of incidental learning.
  • In the comparison schools English-only students improved more than language minority students, in the treatment schools language-minority students improved more than English-only students.
  • Students who benefited most from participation in Word Generation had higher MCAS scores than students with similarly improved vocabularies acquired without Word Generation exposure.
  • Despite the evidence of vocabulary gains for all Word Generation participants on average, and in particular for language minority participants, we did not know whether these students maintained vocabulary knowledge after summer vacation and through the following school year.
  • Students who participated in the intervention maintained their relative improvements at both follow-up assessments. Therefore, they have reason to expect that these students will display improved reading comprehension and enhanced academic learning.

Policy Recommendations:

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Center for Research on the Educational Achievement and Teaching of English Language Learners University of Houston Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, & Statistics 100 TLCC Annex Houston, TX 77204-6022

Lawrence, J.F., Snow, C.E. & White, C. (2011). Improving Reading Across Subject Areas With Word Generation. Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Learning to Read in the Computer Age: Developing Reading Engagement

Author: Center for Applied Special Technology / Anne Meyer and David Rose

Summary: Learning to Read in the Computer Age is part of a series entitled From Reading Research to Practice, edited by Jeanne Chall. Chapter 4, "Developing Reading Engagement," is available online through the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) and explores factors that contribute to student engagement with text, including instruction, challenge, feedback, scaffolding, interest, and learning contexts. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how computer learning can foster engagement in each of these areas.

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Tags: Instructional Programs;

Target Population: Preschool, Elementary


  • In order to fully utilize technology in teaching children to read, considering the superficial factors that make computers engaging is not enough.
  • It is important to take note of certain key features of computer games, such as the adjustment of challenges and support to match developing skills.
  • Motivating readers goes beyond adding entertainment value: computer software can be used to provide support, encouragement and interest appropriate to each student in learning to read.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
The print version of this book is available to order online through or by phone from Brookline Books at 1-800-666-BOOK.

Meyer, A, & Rose, D. (1999). Developing reading engagement. In Learning to Read in the Computer Age (Chapter 4). Wakefield, MA: Center for Applied Special Technology.

Media, Technology, and Reading in Hispanic Families

Summary: This report explores reading and electronic media use in Hispanic households with young children. Researchers examined how age, gender, primary language and social economic status relate to media use, as well as how media practices in Hispanic families compare with other ethnic groups. Key findings demonstrate that access to electronic media devices is significantly dependent upon parents' ethnicity and income, and that Hispanic children read for 14 minutes longer than non-Hispanic White children per day and tend to spend more time using mobile devices and computers each day. In addition, Hispanic parents see more of a positive than a negative effect on children's literacy from television, computers and mobile devices, although video games are viewed as negatively impacting their children. Most participants also are convinced that computer and digital literacy are essential skills for their children and do not believe their children are lagging behind their peers in digital skills.

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Tags: Books and Other Reading Materials;

Target Population: Elementary

Connell, S. L., Kirkpatrick, E., Lauricella, A. R., & Wartella, E. (2013). Media, Technology and Reading in Hispanic Families. National Center for Families Learning.

Technology and Teaching Children to Read

Author: Diana Sherman, Glenn Kleiman, and Kirsten Peterson

Summary: This article shares strategies for effectively implementing technology within K-6 reading programs. Research-based guidelines from the National Reading Panel report (NRP, 2000) frame the discussion about the potential uses of multimedia digital technology to enhance reading instruction.

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Tags: Comprehension; Fluency; Motivation; Phonics; Phonological Awareness; Reading; Vocabulary;

Target Population: Preschool, Elementary, Middle, High School

Research Questions the Report Poses: What does recent research say about the benefits of technology in helping students learn to read?


  • Available research points to many possibilities for technology to enhance reading instruction.
  • Decisions about the effective uses of technology need to be based on an understanding of the school or district reading program.
  • Understanding of the potential uses of technology and a careful analysis of the alignment between the needs of the reading program and the capabilities brought by the technology is vital.
  • Technology can help make a good reading program more effective, but technology's value depends upon the quality of the overall reading program and the thoughtful and careful implementation of technology.

Policy Recommendations:

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:

Sherman, D., Kleiman, G., and Peterson, K. (2004). Technology and Teaching Children to Read. Education Development Center.