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South African Journal of Childhood Education

On-line version ISSN 2223-7682
Print version ISSN 2223-7674


NSHIMBI, Jacob C.; SERPELL, Robert  and  WESTERHOLM, Jari. Using a phone-based learning tool as an instructional resource for initial literacy learning in rural African families. SAJCE [online]. 2020, vol.10, n.1, pp.1-9. ISSN 2223-7682.

BACKGROUND: Despite increased enrolments at primary schools in Zambia, more than half of the children in Grades 1-4 are unable to meet the required minimum standards for literacy. AIM: The study set out to examine the effects of using a phone-based mobile literacy game (Graphogame) to improve literacy skills in children and adults in rural family settings. SETTING: The study was conducted in the Katete District, a rural town in the eastern province of Zambia. METHODS: Participants were 73 Grade 2 learners (52% boys, mean age 9 years and 48% girls, mean age 10 years) and 37 parents (mean age 36 years). Three literacy tests, measuring letter-sound identification, phonological awareness, spelling competence and word recognition, were administered to both the children and parents. Parents also reported on their level of education, familiarity with smart phone use, availability of home reading materials and home literacy activities. RESULTS: The findings showed that children who were exposed to the Graphogame performed better than the control group on all literacy measures. Furthermore, parent's performance on the tests improved after the intervention. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that technology can improve literacy skills in both children and adults in rural areas of Zambia.

Keywords : Graphogame; early literacy skills; rural family setting; home literacy environment; Zambia.

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