The Changing Role of Textbooks in Primary Education in the Digital Era: What Can We Learn from Reading Research?
Textbooks have been the primary teaching tool since the 19th century. By their nature, they contained a comprehensive compilation of the content of a particular subject with the intention of explaining it; this knowledge, in turn, was usually filtered to conform to a particular society’s expectations of elementary knowledge about the natural and social environments. There has been a great deal of research on how the content of textbooks has changed in line with changing values in different societies and over different periods. However, little research has been done on how textbook reading substrates and design have changed and how these changes have affected learning and comprehension: studies that systematically examined the effects of different reading substrates and different layouts on reading and learning comprehension did not appear until the late 20th century and early 21st century. We examine such studies and PISA 2021 results to draw five conclusions for future textbook research. These conclusions indicate that screens are worse than printed texts for some types of reading, while interactivity and dynamic design are not values per se but require coherent design to improve reading performance and higher-level thinking skills.
American Printing History Association. (2020, October 10). History of printing timeline. American Printing History Association. https://printinghistory.org/timeline/
Audio Publishers Association. (2021). A first look at digital audiobook tracking. https://www.audiopub.org/blog/a-first-look-at-digital-audiobook-tracking-from-the-npd-group
Baron, N. (2021). How we read now. Oxford University Press.
Benson, J. (2021). A first look at digital audiobook tracking from the NPD Group. A first look at digital audiobook tracking from The NPD Group - APA (en-US). https://www.audiopub.org/blog/a-first-look-at-digital-audiobook-tracking-from-the-npd-group
Bezemer, J., &Kress, G. (2016). The textbook in a changing multimodal landscape. In N. M. Klug & H. Stöckl (Eds.), Handbuch Sprache im multimodalen Kontext [Handbook of language in multimodal contexts]. De Gruyter.
Birkerts, S. (1994). The Gutenberg elegies. The fate of reading in an electronic age. Faber and Faber.
Bokförsäljningsstatistiken. (2020). https://forlaggare.se/bokforsaljningsstatistik/
Bus, A. & Takacs, Z., & Kegel, C. (2014). Affordances and limitations of electronic storybooks for young children’s emergent literacy. Developmental Review, 19. 10.1016/j.dr.2014.12.004
Carr, N. (2011). The shallows. Atlantic Books.
Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2016). E-learning and the science of instruction. John Wiley & Sons.
Clark, R., Nguyen, F., & Sweller, J. (2006). Efficiency in learning. John Wiley & Sons.
Clinton, V. (2019). Reading from paper compared to screens: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Journal of Research in Reading, 42(2), 288–325. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.12269
Daniel, D. B., & Woody, W. D. (2010). They hear, but do not listen: Retention for podcasted material in a classroom context. Teaching of Psychology, 37(3), 199–203. https://doi.org/10.1080/00986283.2010.488542
Dehaene, S. (2009). Reading in the Brain. Penguin Books.
Delgado, P., Vargas, C., Ackerman, R., & Salmerón, L. (2018). Don’t Throw away your printed books: A meta-analysis on the effects of reading media on reading comprehension. Educational Research Review, 25, 23–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2018.09.003
Diakidoy, I.-A. N., Stylianou, P., Karefillidou, C., & Papageorgiou, P. (2005). The relationship between listening and reading comprehension of different types of text at increasing grade levels. Reading Psychology, 26(1), 55–80. https://doi.org/10.1080/02702710590910584
Duncan, L. G., McGeown, S. P., Griffiths, Y. M., Stothard, S. E., & Dobai, A. (2015). Adolescent reading skill and engagement with digital and traditional literacies as predictors of reading comprehension. British Journal of Psychology, 107(2), 209–238. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12134
Firth, J., Torous, J., Stubbs, B., Firth, J. A., Steiner, G. Z., Smith, L., Alvarez‐Jimenez, M., Gleeson, J., Vancampfort, D., Armitage, C. J., & Sarris, J. (2019). The “Online Brain”: How the internet may be changing our cognition. World Psychiatry, 18(2), 119–129. https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20617
Fuchs, E., &Brock, A. (Eds.) (2018). Introduction to the Palgrave handbook on textbook studies. Palgrave Macmillan.
Kepic Mohar, A. (2019). The materiality of textbooks. Logos, 30(2), 26–33.
Kepic Mohar, A., & Kovač, M. (2021). Digitalna učna gradiva po pandemiji kot del šolske rutine? [Digital learning materials after pandemic as part of the school routine?]. Sodobna pedagogika, 72(Special Issue), 28–43.
Kovač, M., & van der Weel, A. (2018). Reading in a post-textual era. First Monday, 23(10). http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/9416/7592 https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v23i10.9416
Learning ally. Learning Ally - Together It’s Possible. (n.d.). https://learningally.org/
Mangen, A., Olivier, G., & Velay, J.-L. (February 15, 2019). Comparing comprehension of a long text read in print book and on Kindle: Where in the text and when in the story? Frontiers in Psychology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00038
Mayer, R. (2020). Multimedia learning. Cambridge University Press.
OECD. (2019). Pisa 2021 creative thinking framework - OECD. https://www.oecd.org/pisa/publications/PISA-2021-creative-thinking-framework.pdf
OECD. (2021). 21st-century readers: Developing literacy skills in a digital world. OECD. https://doi.org/10.1787/a83d84cb-en
Pfost, M., Dörfler, T., & Artelt, C. (2013). Students’ extracurricular reading behavior and the development of vocabulary and reading comprehension. Learning and Individual Differences, 26, 89–102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2013.04.008
Rubery, M. (2016). The untold story of the talking book. Harvard University Press.
Sidi, Y., Shpigelman, M., Zalmanov, H., & Ackerman, R. (2017). Understanding metacognitive inferiority on screen by exposing cues for depth of processing. Learning and Instruction, 51, 61–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2017.01.002
Singer, L., &Alexander, P. (2017). Reading on paper and digitally: What the past decades of empirical research reveal. Review of Educational Research, 87(6), 1007–1041.
Spitzer, M. (2019). Die smarthphone pandemie [The smartphone pandemic]. Klett-Cota Verlag.
Salmerón, L., Gil, L., & Bråten, I. (2018). Effects of reading real versus print-out versions of multiple documents on students’ sourcing and Integrated Understanding. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 52, 25–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2017.12.002
The Swedish Book Market. (n.d.). https://www.kulturradet.se/en/swedishliterature/learn-more-swedish-book-market/
Thornton, B., Faires, A., Robbins, M., & Rollins, E. (2014). The mere presence of a cell phone may be distracting: Implications for attention and task performance. Social Psychology 45(6), 479–488.
Takacs, Z. K., Swart, E. K., & Bus, A. G. (2015). Benefits and pitfalls of Multimedia and interactive features in technology-enhanced storybooks. Review of Educational Research, 85(4), 698–739. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654314566989
Torkar, G. (2021). Interview with Richard E. Mayer about multimedia materials and textbooks. CEPS Journal. https://doi.org/10.26529/cepsj.1238
Ward, A. F., Duke K., Gneezy, A., & Boss, M.W. (2017). Brain drain: The mere presence of one’s own smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity. Journal of the Association for consumer research, 2(2), 140–154.
Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, May 27). Textbook. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textbook
Willingham, D. T. (2017). The reading mind: A cognitive approach to understanding how the mind reads. Jossey-Bass.
Wolf, M., & Barzillai, M. (2009). The importance of deep reading. Challenging the whole child: Reflections on best practices in learning, teaching, and leadership. ASCD.
Wolf, M. (2008). Proust and the squid. Harper Collins Publishers.
Wolf, M. (2016). Tales of literacy for the 21st century: The literary agenda. Oxford University Press.
Wolf, M. (2018). Reader, come home. The reading brain in a digital world. HarperCollins.
In order to ensure both the widest dissemination and protection of material published in CEPS Journal, we ask Authors to transfer to the Publisher (Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana) the rights of copyright in the Articles they contribute. This enables the Publisher to ensure protection against infringement.