I overheard an interesting debate between two young fathers the other day as they discussed what kind of books their children should read. They were in agreement that reading is beneficial for children as it fosters a stronger relationship between parent and child, contributes to the development of academic and speech skills and helps develop a mastery of the language for better communication. Not only is reading fun, it provides children a plethora of new experiences and prepares them for the future. But are ebooks good for students? Well, that depends.
Reading enables children to connect what they already know. These new connections contribute to their understanding of the world. Moreover, reading makes it possible for children to meet characters and learn about cultures they may not encounter otherwise in their lives. In fact, research indicates fiction readers tend to have a better understanding of other people, empathize with them and are better able to see the world from their perspective.
The debate between old and new media
The question are ebooks good for students rages on. Paper books versus eBooks? Here’s what I overheard between these two fathers discussing and arguing over the matter. Once believed that modern technology will never be able to replicate the time-old comfort of holding paper-based books, while the other man argued modern eBooks are the wave of the future as they are always accessible.
Some people believe, however, excessive media usage can lead to attention problems, school difficulties and possibly sleep or eating disorders among children.
The campaign for traditional paper books for children
There are many people who believe there are benefits to reading only traditional books to children. When a parent reads aloud, for example, it becomes personal. Parents can ask questions, color the story a little bit, but an eBook is unable to add unexpected twists. It is also said to be harder to distract a child reading a real book.
In addition, an electronic device cannot in any way replicate the smell of an old book or the beautiful look of a well-stocked bookcase. I guess it depends whether you are more practicable or sentimental.
Are eBooks the future for children?
The other parent explained eBooks are the future as they are overtaking reading in print. This is not necessarily a good thing because the UK’s National Literacy Trust believes that children who read more on computers and electronic devices than reading books, magazines or comics, are likely to become worse readers. However, the detrimental effects of eBooks are debated. Digital books can be part of the healthy life of children, which is balanced with physical activities, skill development, social interactions, and books. Both eBooks and print books fall into that category. When considering the reading habits of children, 39% of them read daily using electronic devices. Most kids prefer to read on the screen. It is obvious that children like eBooks. They prefer the advances of digital technology. eBooks are not the privileges of wealthy families anymore. Nearly all kids have access to digital technology, especially in developed Western societies.
While eBooks might be part of the contemporary lifestyle and children might use them with ease, some sound of caution is in order regarding them. Enhanced eBooks might distract the readers (adults and children alike) from the story, and affect the conversation and the amount children recall. Children who read print books or basic eBooks are able to recall more narrative details than children reading enhanced eBooks. What eBooks provide is enhanced engagement. Children reading enhanced e-books engaged directly with the book more than children with print books, such as direct attention, touch and other physical interactions.
The debate are ebooks good for students may or may not be decided for parents. It depends on whom you ask. For me, it is undecided. I believe that reading books cannot be wrong for any child, regardless of the traditional form of print books or the modern examples of eBooks. Reading is an activity that contributes to personal development and provides opportunities of having fun. Parents should encourage their children to read and they will be able to decide what type of books they prefer.