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Cellphones ignite a ‘reading revolution’ in poor countries


That may be changing, though, thanks to the spread of mobile technologies that have made books more accessible than ever before — something that UNESCO, in a new report, describes as a veritable reading revolution. The report, released today, examines the reading habits of nearly 5,000 mobile-phone users in seven countries — Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe — where the average illiteracy rate among children is 20 percent, and 34 percent among adults. A key conclusion from this study is that mobile devices can help people develop, sustain and enhance their literacy skills, lead author Mark West, of UNESCO, said in a statement. Today, the app has more than 300,000 monthly active users in developing countries, and Worldreader says its delivered nearly 1.7 million e-books since its launch in 2010.

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