They might be captivated by the bright shiny screens, but when it comes time to read, youngsters gravitate toward print books. Margaret Kristin Merga and Saiyidi Mat Roni cite new research that peaks inside the habits of our youngest readers.
“In a study of children in Year 4 and 6, those who had regular access to devices with eReading capability (such as Kindles, iPads, and mobile phones) did not tend to use their devices for reading—and this was the case even when they were daily book readers,” they write in Quartz.
The study also found that providing children with more devices can actually hamper their tendency to read for fun.
“It suggests that providing children with eReading devices can actually inhibit their reading, and that paper books are often still preferred by young people,” Merga and Roni continue.
This flies in the face of what many believe about our so-called digital natives (a term coined by Marc Prensky in 2001).
“This term characterizes young people as having high digital literacy and a uniform preference for screen-based reading,” the article continues. “But young people do not have a uniform set of skills, and the contention that screens are preferred is not backed up by research.”
What does this mean for parents? First off, it stresses the importance of having books – print books – available for recreational reading. And it also suggests we are not “depriving” our kids by limiting access to digital devices, but doing them a huge favor. As kids gravitate naturally toward these print books, they’ll be better off for it. Reading in print leads to better comprehension, better sleep, and even better performance at school.
This love of reading isn’t just for the youngest among us; previous research has shown that tech-savvy teens still prefer print. Want to raise smarter kids? Put down the tablet, get them a library card and load up the tables with print books.