What if I told you that despite the popular belief that children are more likely to read on a device like an iPad or a Kindle, research shows that this isn’t necessarily true.
The study showed that children in Years 4 and 6 who had consistent access to devices that could be used as eReaders didn’t typically use these devices to read, even if they were reading books daily. The study also showed that the more devices the children had access to, the less they read overall. This suggests that electronic reading devices can actually hinder reading in children.
A previous study showed similar results in teenagers; some students enjoyed reading books on electronic devices, but most of the students did not use their devices for this purpose. The study showed the teenagers reading the highest quantity of books at the highest frequency did not read on a screen.
Education writer Marc Prensky first coined the term “digital natives”, characterizing a whole generation of children with “high digital literacy and a uniform preference for screen-based reading.” The issue within this mindset is the same with standardized testing – not all children have the same skills and abilities.
The misconception grew, impacting decisions for schools and public libraries not only in the United States. Some libraries have removed all paper books as a response, while more and more schools, from elementary to college levels, are increasing their use of digital resources.
For me, the reasons why reading on a screen is less ideal than reading from a printed book are numerous. I’m easily distracted on a screen. I like the feel of flipping pages. Notifications from everyone make it hard to keep track of where I am. Books just feel great in your hands. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
With both children and teenagers proven to read better on printed books, it’s only a matter of time before it’s scientifically proven that everyone prefers a book to an eReader. So let’s come together as a society and stop focusing so hard on eReaders and start focusing back on print. Right?
Featured Image Via Good e-Reader.