A new study into children's reading habits in Australia confirms earlier research that children prefer to read books on paper than e-readers, but also that they read less when they have access to digital devices.
The report, 'The influence of access to e-readers, computers and mobile phones on children's book reading frequency' by Margaret K. Merga and Saiyidi Mat Roni, found that 'not all book types may be equally beneficial, with paper book reading more strongly associated with literacy benefit than screen-based reading at this stage'. The researchers analysed data from 997 children who participated in the 2016 Western Australian Study in Children's Book Reading to determine children's level of access to devices with e-reading capability, and how they used of these devices in reading for pleasure. Children in the study - including those who read daily - were found to underutilise reading devices. They also read less if they had access to mobile phones and still less when they had access to a greater range of digital devices. The report points out that young people are gaining increasing access to devices at school and that schools and libraries are growing their e-book collections, while parents face increasing pressure to use educational technologies at home. However, there is little research showing the outcomes of such access. "While children in developed countries are gaining ever-increasing levels of access to devices at home, relatively little is known about the influence of access to devices with e-reading capability, such as Kindles, iPads, computers and mobile phones, on young children's reading behaviours, and the extent to which these devices are used for reading purposes when access is available.' The full report can be purchased here: