An article in the Guardian about reading habits made me sit up a bit when I was reading it this morning.
You can read the article by clicking on the link here.
It quotes figures from research published by Vox Burner which looked at what and how young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty four read. The survey was taken by about 1500 people.
It showed that despite the rise in popularity of e-readers like Kindle and Nook, that 62% of people who were asked, said they preferred to read a paper copy of a book.
There were lots of reasons for preferring actual books, including something I understand very well, an emotional attachment to the physical book itself, as well as issues of resale, sharing and price.
It is heartening that young people are still attached to books emotionally.
It is also interesting in terms of research for future purchasing for places like school libraries.
In the primary school where I work, we are often sent offers by companies for e-texts and ways to share them across the school network. We have not done this so far. Funds are not adequate, and there are not enough computers for all the children to read. We have no dedicated e-reader devices at all in school, and although the price of these is dropping all the time, it is still a huge investment to buy enough for a school of 200 pupils.
It also remains to be seen whether this kind of investment will have a positive impact on children’s literacy.
Having said that, all avenues to reading will help encourage some child somewhere to read, but it is more a question of whether the subsequent rise in standards of literacy will have been worth the outlay, when there may be other, more cost effective ways to achieve the same or better results.
We have some children in the school who have access to e-readers at home. There is usually a flourish of interest in them after Christmas if one has been brought into the house, but on further questioning you find that the child has read little or nothing on the device.
The other restrictive thing about e-readers is that they cannot really be brought into school from home, because there is more of a chance they will be stolen – something that rarely happens with physical, paper books.
I am all in favour of e-readers. We have a Kindle at home which I use to read novels on a lot. Interestingly though, my children are not in the slightest bit interested or turned on by it. Not even my seven year old, technology mad son. My teenage daughter, who reads a lot of the same type of books as me, will not read them on the Kindle if I get them in that format, preferring to go to the library or wait to buy the paper version herself.
I asked her why she didn’t like using an e-reader and she told me she finds them too impersonal and doesn’t think of them as hers. She says it stops her from becoming engrossed in the story.
Food for thought.