Reading & Literacy

Children Still Prefer Print Books to E-Books

By Catherine Gewertz — January 22, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Children are embracing e-books by the millions, but most say they still would choose the printed version, according to a survey released last week.

Scholastic’s biennial survey of 6- to 17-year-olds found e-books soaring in popularity: Forty-six percent of the 1,074 children said they had read an e-book, compared with 25 percent who said they had in 2010.

The e-book-reading numbers vary by only a few percentage points by gender or age group. But boys were slightly more likely to say that since they started reading e-books, they’re reading more books overall.

Half the young people said they’d read more books for fun if they had better access to e-books. And it’s clear that those surveyed are doing the lion’s share of e-book reading at home, rather than in school: Three-quarters of the respondents who have read an e-book have done so at home; only one-quarter said they had read an e-book in school.

Impact of E-Reading

Among children who have read an e-book, one in five says he or she is reading more books for fun, especially boys.

BRIC ARCHIVE

Note: Figures may not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.

SOURCE: Scholastic

E-books are particularly good when students are traveling or on the go, they told researchers, or when they don’t want their friends to know what they’re reading.

The survey for the New York City-based educational publisher was conducted online last fall. Questions were put to a nationally representative sample of 2,048 people, including children ages 6 to 17 and their parents.

No Batteries Required

But print books clearly still have a big place in children’s lives. Their responses showed that 80 percent of the books they read for fun are in print. They also prefer the printed form over the e-book for reading at bedtime or sharing with friends, the study found.

Fifty-eight percent said they will always want to read books printed on paper even if e-books are available. Two-thirds of the young people surveyed by Scholastic in 2010 gave the same response.

Asked about the benefits of e-books, children and parents most frequently cited the convenience of carrying all their books around in one place and obtaining books wherever they are. Among the e-book attributes they like the most are dictionaries, built-in note-taking and highlighting features, and skill-building activities.

Print books, on the other hand, got high marks from children and parents for not needing batteries and for the ease of seeing how much of a book has been read. Children, in particular, cited liking to hold a print book more than an electronic device. Parents cited liking to “get away from technology.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2013 edition of Education Week as Children Still Prefer Print Books to E-Books


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy Spotlight Spotlight on Literacy in Education
In this Spotlight, evaluate the possible gaps your current curriculum may have and gain insights from the front-lines of teaching.
Reading & Literacy Opinion Teachers, More Than Programs, Make for Great Reading Instruction
Let's focus on specific teaching practices, not confusing labels like "balanced literacy," write Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell.
Irene C. Fountas & Gay Su Pinnell
5 min read
Children reading books in front of books.
iStock/Getty Images
Reading & Literacy Creator of 1619 Project Launching After-School Literacy Program
The 1619 Freedom School, led by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, will make its curriculum a free online resource in 2022.
4 min read
Collage of an American Flag.
Collage: Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty)
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Whitepaper
Teaching Students to Become Proficient, Critical Readers
This whitepaper outlines strategies to apply systematic, explicit literacy instruction that nurtures proficient readers.
Content provided by Mentoring Minds