Reading: On-Screen Versus In-Print

Alex Reichert, a recent graduate from UCLA enumerates the benefits of reading in a blog article on the Huffington Post, "The Reasons I Became an Avid Reader":
  • Improve your brain function
  • Discover an untapped passion lurking in your soul
  • Build your vocabulary
  • Relieve stress
  • Learn how to eloquently and articulately organize and express thoughts
  • Increase reading comprehension skills
  • Learn about the world
  • Learn about human nature
  • Learn from history
  • Reusability
The above is a personal list but I am sure a majority would agree that reading is indeed very important. With technology apparently disrupting education and paving better routes for learning, it is disconcerting to read a recent report from the National Literacy Trust in UK, "Children’s on-screen reading overtakes reading in print". At first glance at the title, one gets the impression that technology is indeed revolutionizing learning as children are now reading more from screens rather than books. But the details are troubling:
The research examines the influence of this technology on children’s reading abilities and their enjoyment of reading. It found those who read daily only on-screen are nearly twice less likely to be above average readers than those who read daily in print or in print and on-screen (15.5% vs 26%). Those who read only on-screen are also three times less likely to enjoy reading very much (12% vs 51%) and a third less likely to have a favourite book (59% vs 77%)... ...We are concerned by our finding that children who only read on-screen are significantly less likely to enjoy reading and less likely to be strong readers. Good reading skills and reading for pleasure are closely linked to children’s success at school and beyond. We need to encourage children to become avid readers, whatever format they choose. 
The above is simply a preliminary announcement of the National Literacy Trust on this survey of almost 35,000 children and young people aged eight to sixteen in the UK. There is a forthcoming report that presents the results of this survey. It would be interesting to find out how much it has changed from the previous survey in 2012 which had the following table, for example:

Captured from http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/assets/0001/4543/Young_people_s_reading_FINAL_REPORT.pdf







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