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The Promise and Perils of ‘E book Gifting’

You may watch my brief video on e book gifting on my YouTube web page, ‘Exploring Proof in Schooling‘:

If you happen to can’t learn, you can’t entry the varsity curriculum and a lot extra past. You probably have little or no entry to studying, you’re unlikely to apply studying habitually. In flip, you’re unlikely to thrive within the classroom.

These miserable truths are self-evident. With the Coronavirus disaster seeing so many pupils being shut out of the classroom, so most of the obstacles and points associated to studying are made extra acute.

I repeatedly share the unhappy statistic from the Nationwide Literacy Belief that as few as 1 in 8 deprived kids in England personal a e book of their very own. For me, this statistic is the ‘canary within the coal-mine’ – when you possess your personal bookshelf, or not, it’s prone to be a number one indicator about how properly you’ll be able to learn to be taught within the classroom.

‘Simply present them books!’

In a current Home of Commons Schooling Choose Committee assembly, on the subject of addressing the problems posed by the Coronavirus on training.

The ‘digital divide’, so necessary to high school entry proper now, was mentioned at size. The politicians additionally mooted that ‘e book gifting’ must be enacted as a coverage to mitigate the challenges at present confronted by pupils not being taught within the classroom.

It’s each an comprehensible and fascinating answer for a lot of kids who don’t have a bookshelf of their very own. It might properly make an necessary distinction; maybe as a lot because the comparatively costly answer of offering further tech entry.

And but, easy options like gifting books have promise, however they aren’t with out peril.

Chastening failures

While you dig into the analysis proof on e book gifting, right here and in different nations just like the US, there are some saddening findings. Complicated issues are seldom fastened by easy options.

In an EEF e book gifting trial in 2014 – the Summer time Energetic Studying Programme – there have been small positives to be gleaned from the trial, however – fairly counter-intuitively the e book gifting had a adverse influence on studying enjoyment for deprived (FSM) kids, whereas it was optimistic on their wealthier friends.

One other ‘e book gifting’ trial, labelled ‘The LetterBox Membership’ – specializing in supporting foster kids with e book gifting in Northern Eire. There was no distinction in outcomes. In actual fact, interviewing some kids revealed that the e book gifting had inadvertently created a way of a ‘e book burden’ for some kids.

Each trials, and different analysis on this space, exhibits that e book gifting seemingly must be supported with consideration to studying motivation and the studying ability of pupils. Not solely that, it seemingly wants further help components e.g. specific steering together with help/coaching for fogeys and caregivers.

Complicated issues are usually not solved with a easy present. A multi-stranded method to complicated literacy issues are wanted.

This isn’t an argument to say we should always not present books. It might show a really invaluable method and make an important distinction throughout prolonged time away from faculty. However we must be very cautious to implement e book gifting with nice care.


  • E book entry is an issue, however there are not any silver bullet options
  • E book gifting must be supported with consideration to studying motivation and ability of pupils
  • E book gifting seemingly wants further help components e.g. specific steering; help/coaching for fogeys and care givers
  • E book gifting must be part of a multi-stranded method to growing studying and literacy.