How do you feel about kids reading e-books?
The 2010 Kids and Family Reading Report, released Wednesday and commissioned by Scholastic Inc., offers a mixed portrait of e-books and families. Around six out of 10 of those between ages 9 and 17 say they’re interested in reading on an electronic device such as the Kindle or the iPad. Around one out of three from the same age group say they’d read more “for fun” if more books were available on a digital reader.
Studies have shown that kids are exposed too much ‘screen time’ (television, games, ‘learning’ games from companies such as LeapFrog, etc.), but what about e-books?
The 2010 report shows, as other studies have, a decline in reading for fun as children grow older. More than half read for fun between ages 6 and 8, but the percentage drops to around 25 percent by ages 15 through 17 and just 20 percent for boys in that age group. Newman sees technology as both a problem and possible solution.
“We know that around age 8 they (children) start to lose interest in reading,” Newman says. “Obviously, digital media is competing for kids’ attention. It’s very important that we as publishers make sure we’re engaging kids in reading for fun. There’s an opportunity to use technology to engage kids. … We can have great content presented in a digital way.”
The concept of e-books is relatively new, but I really don’t think they will be going away anytime soon. There are several devices you can choose from now-of course, there is Amazon.com’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook (although, who knows how long this will be around, considering the troubles B&N are experiencing), and the iPad Tablet, among others. I must admit that I am a little hesitant to buy one myself for several reasons- there is something so satisfying about the physicality of a books: holding it in your hand, turning the pages, the feeling of comfort being surrounded by books. Also, there is the price. It’s a little steep right now. The Kindle and Nook aren’t so bad, but they are soon to be on their way out as more e-readers become available. Right now the iPad Tablet goes for $546, or so (listed at Amazon). It’ll eventually go down-remember when CD players first came out? They were over $700. You can now get a portable CD player for $30 or less.
What it comes down to is this: if it gets them reading, I don’t see the problem. I’d rather have my kid reading an e-book than playing a video game or watching a movie.
See the entire Kids and Family Reading Report here. Scroll down to the bottom for a PDF version.
About Kris Underwood
Kris Underwood is the Social Media Manager at Hunger Mountain (Vermont College of Fine Arts). Poetry has appeared in several publications including MotherVerse, mamazine.com and Poetry Midwest. I read books & write about them on my blog sometimes.