A1 Journal article (refereed)
Using a phone-based learning tool as an instructional resource for initial literacy learning in rural African families (2020)

Nshimbi, J. C., Serpell, R., & Westerholm, J. (2020). Using a phone-based learning tool as an instructional resource for initial literacy learning in rural African families. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 10(1), Article a620. https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v10i1.620

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Nshimbi, Jacob C.; Serpell, Robert; Westerholm, Jari

Journal or series: South African Journal of Childhood Education

ISSN: 2223-7674

eISSN: 2223-7682

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 10

Issue number: 1

Article number: a620

Publisher: University of Johannesburg

Publication country: South Africa

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v10i1.620

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68162


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: language learning; literacy; educational games; domestic environment; family (phenomena); rural communities

Free keywords: Graphogame; early literacy skills; rural family setting; home literacy environment; Zambia

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 15:32