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Rise Up Foundation Examines Transmedia Connections to Literacy

Foundation Publishes “A Question of Literacy: Engaging and Motivating the 21st Century Reader”

ORANGE, CA – February 25, 2015 – The Rise Up Foundation released a report on literacy today, synthesizing research by leading literacy scholars and examining the impact of emerging media on reader engagement. A Question of Literacy investigates how trends such as transmedia storytelling and participatory culture are being designed to improve reader engagement and motivation, not diminish them.

“Kids who are strong readers do better in school and are better prepared to live successful lives,” said Wendy Alane Adams, CEO and Founder of the Rise Up Foundation. “By delving deeper into the psyche of today’s digitally advanced adolescent, we can better understand how to deliver content that will trigger their imagination and convince them to sit long enough to read a book, cover to cover.”

The report, available for download at riseupfoundation.org/a-question-of-literacy, concludes that the tools of new media and transmedia storytelling present opportunities to meet young readers where they are, and to get them to a better level of literacy. As both media consumers and media producers, today’s digital youth have come to expect more immersive forms of engagement. Deepening their experience can both drive engagement and motivate them to take advantage of additional opportunities to read.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Youth today are experiencing notable declines in reading for pleasure, presenting a crisis given the correlation between the frequency of reading for pleasure and better test scores in reading and writing.
  • Research does not support the common assertion that “digital distraction” is the primary cause for the decline in reading. More notable factors include lack of access to books and an absence of encouragement to read for pleasure at home and/or in school.
  • Youth today are motivated by opportunities to participate in co-creation and by being co-constructors of meaning through reading, viewing, understanding, responding, and interacting through storytelling.
  • Transmedia storytelling can be used to create multimodal learning experiences that are designed to improve reflective thinking, reading engagement and literacy.
  • It is increasingly important to both broaden the definition of and approach to literacy, and begin to address how conventional measures fail to accurately recognize the reading activities that young people engage in when using digital media.
  • The Rise Up Foundation will use these findings to explore new ways to employ transmedia storytelling in the cause of literacy improvement.

About Rise Up Foundation

Founded by Wendy Alane Adams, the Rise Up Foundation strives to improve the lives of children and families living in poverty and difficult circumstances. Rise Up supports literacy projects as a path toward improving the future prospects of children in underserved communities by making book donations, providing classroom support, and grant-making. In addition to literacy efforts, Rise Up works with organizations committed to defining and solving the problems that chronic poverty brings to children and their communities. For more information, please visit www.riseupfoundation.org, facebook.com/Rise.Up.Foundation and twitter.com/RiseUpFdn

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