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Cellphones can improve literacy, UN study says

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 (AP)

A study by the U.N. education agency says cellphones are getting more and more people to read in countries where books are rare and illiteracy is high.

Paris-based UNESCO says 774 million people worldwide cannot read, and most people in sub-Saharan Africa don't own any books but cellphones are increasingly widespread. The report Wednesday by UNESCO says large numbers of people in such countries are reading books and stories on "rudimentary small-screen devices."

It says a third of study participants read stories to children from cellphones. It also says people who start reading on a mobile device go on to read more period, improving their overall literacy.

The study was conducted among 4,000 people in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.