A new study has taken a look at how children read – specifically whether they're picking up a book or an electronic device, and the impact that had on their literacy.

Data from 997 children who participated in the 2016 Western Australian Study in Children’s Book Reading was analysed.

Researchers identified how often children had access to devices with eReading capability, and their frequency of use when it came to recreational reading.

Presently, book reading is more strongly associated with a literacy benefit, and has been found to increase the development of reading comprehension and vocabulary.

Respondents were found to generally underutilise devices for reading purposes, even when they were daily book readers. In addition, access to mobile phones was associated with reading infrequency. It was also found that reading frequency was less when children had access to a greater range of these devices.

The research also cites South Korea as a case-in-point: Children in the country – one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world – prefer to read paper books as a result of “perceiving fatiguing effects of screen-based reading, particularly In relation to eye strain."

Another reason the study identifies children possibly preferring paper books is that they provide no distractions - devices often have an internet connection, which makes it difficult for children to stay on task.

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