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Will e-readers get kids to read more?

By Nicola Freeman

I was a little surprised to read the results of a study by Scholastic, publisher of the Harry Potter books and a big supporter of efforts to promote child literacy. After surveying more than 2,000 kids ages 6 to 17 and their parents, Scholastic concluded that children would read for fun more frequently if they could do so on digital devices.

Parents and educators have long been concerned that computers, video game consoles, and smartphones have diminished the time that kids spend reading. However, the Scholastic report suggests that these same devices could be used to steer kids towards reading instead of away from it.

The report’s conclusion seems to be based on the finding that although 25 percent of the children surveyed had already read a book on a digital device, 57 percent between the ages of 9 and 17 said they were interested in doing so.

While Francie Alexander, chief academic officer at Scholastic, called the report “a call to action” – presumably for schools and parents to run out and buy e-readers – parents of children involved in the survey weren’t so sure. “My daughter can’t stop texting long enough to concentrate on a book,” said one.

The novelty of reading a book on an e-reader can wear off just as quickly as reading a book in print form. As far as my own child is concerned, it’s the content that matters. Give him an interesting book with a good story line and he will read for hours. Scholastic should know: they could print the Harry Potter books on tablets of stone and they would still sell millions!

Do you believe e-readers and other electronic devices can help kids to read? Share your thoughts with The Online Mom!

Comment by marilyn huggardbax, posted 7/27/2011, 6:20 PM:

to get my child to read more and to raise her reading level
Comment by Cheryl Friedenberg, posted 10/11/2010, 12:37 AM:

For the afternoon Mom taxi shuffle from appointment to lesson to pick-up and back home, my kids use the family Ipad to do their required homework reading in the car. Talk about efficiency. They sometimes fight over who can read first. I LOVE that!
Comment by Dana, posted 10/1/2010, 7:21 AM:

I think an e-reader may help a child "get over the hump" of really enjoying to read for pleasure. I know my daughter was very interested in reading on my husband's kindle when she was first learning to read (real books with real stories). Reading on his kindle was the first time I saw her sit and read for an extended period for fun. The novelty of the e-reader has worn off now, but it kept her interest long enough to catch the reading bug. Now I have to make her put her book down at bedtime.
Comment by Manuel Braverman, posted 9/30/2010, 7:48 PM:

I agree with your child. Content is key and e-readers con offer a huge variety of content allowing a child to find something that will interest him and be hooked
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