While it’s thought that young people are usually the first to embrace technology, a survey by BookTrust, in conjunction with the Open University has shown that children prefer print books both for reading for pleasure and education. If when eBooks launched people imagined a general of technological readers then they couldn’t be more wrong, as it seems that digital devices just don’t offer the same feeling as lap reading with a book.
The study incorporated the opinions of over 1,500 parents of children aged 0-8 years and found that for reading with parents, reading alone, reading for fun, or reading for education, more than three quarters of children (76%)prefer print to eBooks, even when the eBooks offer an interactive function.
You might think that these children just aren’t very technologically advanced, but the study also showed that even in highly digitised households where children were confident users of technology, they still preferred paper books for reading.
The study also showed that parents feel that real paper books are a better medium for children and would rather see their own children with real books than with digital devices. Parents are also under the belief that reading on paper is better quality reading, and that paper reading is easier on the eyes and less likely to cause the child to require glasses. Sadly we have no evidence to back up the thoughts and can’t confirm one way or another which method of reading is best, although it has been suggested that we remember more when we read from paper than from the screen.
However, while parents worried about technology, much of that worry revolved around the Internet. BookTrust feel that children are best allowed access to the Internet in a supervised fashion, after all they are growing up in an online world and the sooner they learn to use the Internet sensibly, the better. We’re inclined to agree in that respect and while the Internet might be scary, it’s also quite wonderful too.
From a personal perspective, I have two children myself, one of them is university age and while she uses a Kindle for fun reading, she prefers books to study. The other is high school age, and while she isn’t short of access to the Internet, she definitely prefers paper for reading stories.
What do you think? Do you have any thoughts regarding your children and their introduction to reading? Let us know.