New Study Suggests E-Readers Undermine Reading Benefits in Kids

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“Nobody reads ‘real’ books anymore,” said Boy Wonder, the kid with an ever-present book in his hand. “Everybody has an e-reader and I want one, too.” With his birthday coming up and his school’s recent allowance of e-readers on campus, I thought, “Hey, why not?”

The idea of a portable library in the palm of my son’s hand excited me. Imagine all the books he’ll read! Imagine all the space e-books will save! And with that, an e-reader quickly became his most prized possession.

Soon, he was reading books more voraciously than I could afford to download them. “Mom, I’ve read three books this week!” he’d boast, but I wondered… was he really reading them? He never consumed traditional printed books at this pace before.

New study findings presented by West Chester University associate professor, Heather Ruetschlin Schugar and instructor, Jordan Schugar at the annual American Educational Research Association conference found that middle schools using e-readers suffered lower reading comprehension levels than those reading traditional hard copy books.

But wait, aren’t they the same? Words on screen versus words on the printed page? [read more…]

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