Research Shows Children Prefer to Read on Paper Rather Than Screens

It is often thought that, in this digital age of ever advancing technology, children are far more likely to read a book on their tablet screen rather than read from a physical book made of paper. However, recent research has shown that this may not be true.

A study that monitored the reading habits of children in Year 4 and 6, all of whom had access to eReaders such as Kindles and iPads, found that the children tended not to use those devices when it came to reading. In fact, even children who read daily seemed to prefer physical books over digital ones.

As The Conversation reports, the study also found that the more access a child had to devices such as phones and tablets, the less they tended to read. A parent may think they’re encouraging their child to read by buying them a tablet but this can have the opposite effect. These results are supported by previous research which found teenagers prefer to read physical books.

Young people today are sometimes referred to as ‘digital natives’, as they grow up using devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. They tend to have a very high digital literacy and this in turn has lead some to assume that that children would prefer to read on a screen rather than on paper but research has so far shown that this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Despite the evidence, many still believe that physical books are on their way out and some schools in the US and Australia have removed physical books from libraries in favour of eBooks. It may be a move that schools think will help students but evidence is showing that this is in fact limiting pupil’s access to their preferred way of reading.
It has been found that reading on a device that is connected to the internet allows for far more distractions and makes it even harder for readers who struggle to remain attentive to the text.

Young people may prefer reading physical books to digital ones but it has been found that fewer and fewer children read for pleasure. If you’re eager for your children to discover the joys of reading then a number of methods can be used to help them. Creating a comfortable place for children to read free of distractions can be a great help and having teachers and parents who talk about books can also be very encouraging.



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