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Kids Reading Too Much? Blame the E-Reader

Kids Reading Too Much? Blame the E-Reader
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Next time you fret about the amount of time you, your friends or your offspring are spending with their e-readers, take heart. You are part of a growing trend: reading.

Last November Kristina Chew wrote a Care2 Causes post that posed a question on a lot of parents’ minds: In the choice between an e-book or a paper book, which is best for kids? She weighed both sides and handed it to readers to come to their own conclusions.

Then in February Julie Rodriguez reported on an online survey that looked at reading habits of teens and children that had some surprising results:

[W]hile children 12 and under consider e-books “fun” and “cool,” teenagers 13-17 are the least likely out of any age group to read e-books. That’s right: both 5-year-olds and 40-year-olds are more likely to read an e-book than your tech-savvy, constantly-texting 16-year-old is.

Physical books delight me. So do e-books. So I was thrilled to learn the reading picture is not as dismal as many think. However, it looked grim until the e-reader came along. A few days ago Kaitlyn White from the design and research team at OnlineTeachingDegree.com sent me an eye-opening infographic that pulled together statistics from recent surveys.

I followed the links and found a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) study from 2007, To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence. Some of the statistics were reported in the Boston Globe, and they made pretty dismal reading. I won’t repeat them here since key figures were pulled out for the infographic. You can find the Executive Summary here and the full report here.

On the other hand, you can skip over the bad news and go straight to the good. The 2012 NEA study has a hopeful title, Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy. For the first time in 26 years of periodic NEA surveys, reading is on the rise. A Pew report, The rise of e-reading, confirms that optimistic finding.

Both studies credit the e-reader for the surge of interest in books and reading. So take a look at the infographic on the next page. Then relax, pick up your e-reader or regular book, and enjoy a good read.

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69 comments

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2:30PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

no such thing as "too much" reading. love it

3:03PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

As a writer, I would be very welcoming of more children reading, whether it be e-books or real books. Parents today seem to be a little too focused on getting children into active play, and although this is another concern, one cannot read a book and play sports or do other physical activities at the same time (unless they're on a hands-free exercise bike, or can prop a book on the handlebars.) Are these people worried that too much reading will make them fatter than they are. Personally, if I had kids, I'd be encouraging them to read widely and well - whether they're inside the house or outside in the yard or under a tree.

5:02PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

You can NEVER read too much!! I am a book-worm. That's how you learn so many great things. I also have an e-reader and I've never used it. It was a gift, over a year ago. I just love to read the real thing, ya know? I learned at a young age, from my mom, that the library can be a great friend! Our children need to know that too.

5:02AM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

It seems that the powers that be are never satisfied, where children are concerned - "too much" reading? It can't do them any harm, and if they are reading something which makes them think, then how can it be a bad thing. Wouldn't you rather your child did a lot of reading, rather than hanging around the street vandalising things and harrassing people. First the powers that be put crimes like last year's riots down to children (when plenty of adults were involved), now they are saying children do "too much" reading - what on Earth next?! Do the powers that be think children should be stripped of hobbies they enjoy, such as reading, and just be kept locked in dark cells forever, lest they start any riots? Well I think the powers that be are doing TOO MUCH MOANING!

7:51PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

e-readers are easy to use and quick and easy to buy new books. But I still prefer holding the real book in my hands. In the end, I like both :)

6:38PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

I love books, children can never read too much, that's silly...

5:06PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

E-books are a lot easier to read in the dark than regular books :p

4:39AM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

As a kid my nose was contantly in a book, from Enid Blyton to Roald Dalhl and Judy Blume and then onto my fav's of Stephen King and Dean Koontz and so on.
I much prefer the feel of paper in my hands and the smell of the pages though so I expect it will be a very long time until I personally get an e-reader though I don't think they are a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.

2:10AM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

E books I dislike but I will read them rather than have no book at all. E's are easy to tote around so they each of their place. If you are travelling E's are great as you can lug around a small library.

2:10AM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

Children can never read 'too much'. In the UK children didn't read enough - E readers are a blessing.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Colleen H. Colleen H. is an Online Campaigner with Care2 and a recent transplant to San Francisco from the East... more
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