September 30, 2010, 2:33 PM

Digital devices may encourage kids’ reading

 A survey finds that 57% of kids want to read an e-book.

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Parental enthusiasm for e-books could help increase interest in digital reading devices, suggests a recent survey of parents and children.

18% of parents polled said they expect to buy an e-reading device in the next year, while 6% already own one, according to The Kids and Family Reading Report from educational products retailer Scholastic Inc.  83% of parents say they will encourage their children to use e-readers.

Scholastic, No. 45 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, based the findings on a survey of 1,000 children aged 6 to 17 and 1,000 of their parents.

 57% of children said they’d be interested in reading an e-book and a third said they’d read more books for fun if they could access them on an electronic device.

Overall, 25% of children surveyed have read a book on a digital device, typically a computer, laptop or netbook. 

But parents aren’t without concern about their children’s use of electronic and digital devices cutting into other important activities. The survey found that 41% of parents believe mobile phone use and online activities reduce the time their children spend reading books.  

The survey found that children have a broad view of what constitutes reading, with 25% of those aged 9 to 17 saying texting counts as reading. 8% of parents agreed.  28% of the children aged 9 to 17 said that looking through posts on social networking sites such as Facebook counts as reading, with 15% of parents agreeing. Additionally, 39% of all children surveyed said that the information they find online is always correct.

“Clearly, there is a big role for parents and teachers to play in helping kids become better critical  thinkers today starting at an early age, given that the study found that among children aged 9-11, nearly half believe everything they read online,” says Francie Alexander, chief academic officer at Scholastic.

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