– Study Reveals Digital Devices Don’t Improve Children’s Reading Comprehension

If your child isn’t fond of traditional paper books and prefers reading on a tablet or similar device, you might consider encouraging them to explore conventional books and magazines, especially during their formative years. A recent study revealed that digital reading may not enhance reading comprehension in younger students.

The analysis of various studies was featured in the Review of Educational Research journal.

According to the authors’ interpretation of past research, a student who spends approximately 10 hours reading in print format is likely to comprehend about 6 to 8 times more compared to reading on digital devices for the same duration.

In elementary and middle school, there appeared to be a negative correlation between casual digital reading and comprehension. However, this trend shifted positively as students progressed to high school and college.

Curious about the drawbacks of digital reading? The authors suggest that the multifunctionality of devices could be a contributing factor. Additionally, the internet has introduced alternative forms of reading material, such as shorter articles, limited vocabulary, and lower-quality content.

“In essence, for young readers, casual digital reading may not yield the same benefits in terms of reading comprehension as traditional print reading does,” noted Lidia Altamura, a PhD candidate at the University of Valencia and one of the researchers. “Our results are particularly striking when compared to the well-established positive relationship between print reading frequency and text comprehension.”

“We initially anticipated that casual digital reading for educational purposes, like browsing Wikipedia or other informative websites, or keeping up with the news, would demonstrate a stronger positive link to comprehension,” remarked Altamura. “However, this was not the case.”

This study represents the first meta-analysis to specifically examine the connection between leisure digital reading habits and reading comprehension.

The researchers reviewed 25 studies published between 2000 and 2022, involving approximately 470,000 individuals from over three dozen countries.

The team emphasizes the significance of steering young students towards reading printed materials rather than relying solely on digital content.

“Given our findings, we cannot simply assume that all casual reading habits will benefit young readers,” Altamura emphasized. “The choice of medium matters.”

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