Does the Use of Electronic Texts in Small Group Reading Instruction Impact Comprehension?

  • Monica Marino

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


Due to the increased presence of e-books in primary schools, practitioners are wondering if e-text is ‘better’ for student reading comprehension than paper text. This dissertation, a small-scale, mixed-methods study, set out to examine differences in primary school student reading performance when using e-books versus paper books. The research is grounded in constructivist beliefs that learning is a co-created construct, shared between students and teachers. A review of the literature explores the concepts of e-book, reading comprehension, and how reading comprehension is measured, along with Puentadura’s 2006 SAMR model as a framework upon which to explore the impacts of educational technology.

The study employs the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark System to measure students’ reading levels before and after the data collection period. During the data collection period, the teacher taught small-group reading lessons, and half of the participants used e-books while the other half read paper copies of the same text. The study employs discourse analysis and thematic analysis to examine the impact of the text type on student comprehension.

The findings suggest that more work is needed to determine the impact of e-text on student comprehension. However, in this exploratory study, the performance of students in the two groups appeared to be similar. The study found that the text-to-speech feature available on Kindle devices and its impact on reading comprehension require further examination. The findings suggested that Kindle might be considered a separate genre requiring its own explicit instruction, and more work will need to be done in order to bring teacher professional development in line with this suggestion.
Date of Award2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorDavid Skidmore (Supervisor) & Simon Hayhoe (Supervisor)


  • Reading Comprehension
  • E-books

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