Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Reading in the digital age:

A new national report from the United States shows kids are reading more in the digital age.
By Motherpedia
Date: January 16 2013
Editor Rating:

A national survey released in the United States during the week showed that kids aged 9-17 years are reading more because they’re reading e-books.

The study reports that:

  • the proportion of children who have read an e-book has almost doubled from 25% to 46%
  • half of all kids surveyed said they would read more books for fun if they had greater access to e-books – a 50% increase in two years.

However, about half of parents feel that their children do not spend enough time reading books, other than those assigned for school purposes.

The findings reveal the potential for e-books to motivate boys, who are more commonly known to be reluctant readers, to read more, with one in four boys who has read an e-book saying he is now reading more books for fun.

E-books may also be the key to increase the frequency of reading. More than half of those who are defined as ‘moderate’ readers (1-4 days per week) said they would read more if they could access e-books.

While the printed book hasn’t completely declined, the digital shift in children’s reading is evident. Two years ago 66% said they would always want to read a print book rather than an e-book; today it is 58%.

"We are seeing that kids today are drawn to both print books and e-books, yet e-reading seems to offer an exciting opportunity to attract and motivate boys and reluctant readers to read more books," said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer of Scholastic education.

"While many parents express concern over the amount of time their child spends with technology, nearly half do not have a preference of format for their child's books. The message is clear – parents want to encourage more reading, no matter the medium."

The study also looked at the influences that impact kids' reading frequency, and parents ranked extremely high. The report found that having a reading role-model parent or a large book collection at home has a greater impact on kids' reading frequency than does household income. Building reading into kids' daily schedules and regularly bringing home books for children positively impacts kids' reading frequency.

Additional findings include:

  • Kids say that e-books are better than print books when they do not want their friends to know what they are reading, and when they are out and about/traveling.
  • Print books are seen by kids as better for sharing with friends and reading at bedtime.
  • Nine in ten kids say they are more likely to finish a book they choose themselves.
  • 31% of parents who have read an e-book say they personally read more books now than they read before starting to read e-books, including new kinds of books that they would never have read previously.

"The call to action is to stay focused on increasing reading frequency among our children because the more they read, the better readers they will become and the more they will love it and continue to read," said Ms Alexander.

"Literacy is a critical doorway to success in both school and life, particularly as the digital world increases access to information. Our children need to gain the skills learned by reading, such as the ability to analyae, interpret and understand complex texts and to separate fact from opinion." 

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