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 🙂