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News in Youth Services

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Digital Reading and Boys

Have you ever become frustrated because your son doesn't like to read books?  "Would you like to come to the library with me?" you ask.  Your son's response, "Are we getting video games or DVDs?"

If you have ever heard these or similar words from your son, maybe it's time to rethink the format of what he reads.  Most boys love screen time - whether on the TV, iPad, Smartphone or other digital tools.  However it's not the screen that's of concern; it's what's on the screen.  So why not control a
part of the screen time by encouraging boys to read on digital devices.  Research supports that reading on a device still develops the benefits of reading 30-minutes a day.  These benefits include strong reading and verbal cognitive skills, cognitive stamina, vocabulary, background knowledge, empathy, imagination, curiosity, and improved writing and spelling skills.

Surveys and research support that girls prefer to read print books (like many adults) and because of this preference, they enjoy reading and do it more often.  When boys are given a choice to pick the format of the text, they too become more frequent readers.

Here are 5 reasons why digital reading devices benefit boys: 

1.  Reading is viewed in a more positive light
Research shows when boys read on a computer for assessments, they score higher than on the paper-based version.

2.  Everything is in one place and easy to carry
Boys don't like to carry around multiple copies of books, so they don't.  However, boys who had all their books downloaded onto their device, didn't mind pulling out their device for some reading time.

3.  Privacy
What boys read on a device stays private, which is particularly important for boys who struggle with reading.  

4.  Changeability of the font, lighting, and size of words
What may be the right font for you, may not be the right font for your son.  They are expects at changing settings.  Let them.

5.  Includes a dictionary and audio book functions
One click away is the dictionary and thesaurus, so boys are more willing to look up words, thereby increasing vocabulary.  Also, many books include the text-to-speech feature.  The advantage to listening to books while reading along with them is a great way to read more challenging books of their choosing. 

Digital reading devices can be the key to opening the world of reading to a non-reading boy and the library is a great place to help with digital text.  Roselle Public Library offers many titles on a digital format.  We even offer assistance in teaching you how to download books onto a device.

If we want boys to be successful in the future (and we do!), it's time we encourage boys to choose to read on a digital device instead of forcing them to always read an actual hardcover book.  The format doesn't matter in the long run; it's the knowledge that comes from reading that is the most important aspect of reading! 

Reference:  Tubin, H. (2016).  5 benefits of digital reading devices for boys.  Retrieved from:

eMedia Library

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