Parents Prefer Print

A new PEW survey indicates that a vast majority of parents believe that reading printed books is “very important” (81%) or “somewhat important” (13%) for their children:

In our focus groups, one father said he valued reading print books because they helped model reading habits for his children:


“I’m reading like a book [on a tablet] and my children don’t know if I’m reading a book or if I’m playing on Twitter, so I think it’s important to have the book so that they go, ‘Oh Dad’s reading’ . . . not just, ‘Oh he’s updating his Facebook page.’ I think there is like a difference in that.”

Other focus group members voiced similar sentiments, saying they valued the physicality and the relative permanence of printed books because they can be passed down “from generation to generation.” One participant said while e-books have some advantages — for instance, they are more convenient to carry when traveling — “I like those books in my hands sometimes.”

The survey provides an interesting contrast to a recent study by the UK Literacy Trust, which found that only 32% of nearly 35,000 British children surveyed prefer the printed word to screens. Other findings:

[Research] found those who read daily only on-screen are nearly twice less likely to be above average readers than those who read daily in print or in print and on-screen (15.5% vs 26%). Those who read only on-screen are also three times less likely to enjoy reading very much (12% vs 51%) and a third less likely to have a favourite book (59% vs 77%).