Elmo like cellphone too!

Preschoolers dial their way to literacy in study that puts cellphones in kids' hands.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor on

Elmo like cellphone too.

If you are in the market for a cellphone, you might just think about getting the three-year-old in the family one, too. A new study conducted by the Public Broadcasting System's PBS Kids found that preschoolers can and should learn the alphabet from video clips delivered by cellphone, reports The Journal

The study, called "Ready to Learn Cell Phone Study: Learning Letters With Elmo," gave video-enabled Sprint phones to 80 parents in Oakland, Fresno and Los Angeles. The parents listened to literacy tips and instructions on how to show their children video clips of letters at least three times a week for eight weeks. The thrust of the experiment was to gauge the usefulness of the cellphone as an educational tool for preschoolers. The cellphone study also including an evaluation of the device when used by people of varying economic backgrounds.

The results of the study were that the participating preschoolers' knowledge of the alphabet grew during those eight weeks. Among poor families, three-quarters said that the video clips helped their kids learn their letters; half of the families living above the poverty level reported similar results. At the conclusion of the study, respondents all indicated improvement in their children's ability to sing the alphabet song and identify individual letters.

The advantages of cellphones were their portability, ease of use and the appeal to kids, all contributed to their appeal as a teaching tool.

Editorial standards