Where do our children read most?

So today, a report studying around 35000 8-16 year old children found out that more children are reading on a computer screen or smartphone than reading a book. Is it really a surprise in an age where computers are in almost every home now. In fact, according to the report, 97% of the children studied said they had access to a computer at home, and a significant percentage (77%) of those children had a computer in their bedroom.

So what are these children reading? Well with the exponential growth in usage of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, most of the reading happens there. However the study has also noticed a shift in reading fiction, news and information on the screen as well. This however is not a complete shift as around 53% of those studied still read novels in printed form.

So in terms of schooling what do these trends suggest? Well, younger children who read printed books as well as used computers were more likely to have higher reading levels than those who only read on screen, the study said. Although this gap did not apply to those children who used tablet computers or e-readers.A clearer pattern was visible with the readership of printed newspapers. This has tumbled from 46% in 2005 to 31% in this latest study. In contrast, there are now 41% of these young people who read news stories online.

National Literacy Trust director Jonathan Douglas said: “Our research confirms that technology is playing a central role in young people’s literacy development and reading choice. While we welcome the positive impact which technology has on bringing further reading opportunities to young people, it’s crucial that reading in print is not cast aside.”

It is important to note for me that whilst we are in a technology driven age where mobile phones are no longer just phones, more like mini computers and laptops can turn into tablets and all sorts of other technologies, printed reading still has a place in our lives, and should not just simply be substituted. So for teachers, do not simply use the screens as a means of substituting printed reading for children, use the screens to enhance their learning instead.

When was the last time you read a book cover to cover? How much do you read on screen and where? Leave a comment below 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Where do our children read most?

  1. I agree with your post in that we, as teachers, shouldn’t just replace print with screens. I think there will always be a place for printed books and guided reading in schools (as generally this involves handling and manipulating a book). However I do know of a teacher who wants to use kindles to enhance enjoyment of reading as they feel that the children will be encouraged to read more if the other children don’t know what they are reading (as it is low level)
    Good post

    1. I agree that there is the potential of kindles being able to encourage children to enjoy reading, but in a guided reading session for example, the children would be reading aloud anyway, so if children can see the book cover or not doesn’t make much of a difference, unless you have a particularly antisocial class haha.

      The only real obvious advantage I would see with using these kindles or other e-readers is that you can store thousands of books on one device, which would thus replace bookshelves in the classroom but looking at a screen for hours everyday isn’t ideal in anyone’s case. It does also make it harder for children to recognise the features of a book, particularly when you ask direct questions which require definitions for words in a glossary for example.

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