Ebooks for Boys

There is an article in the Telegraph of 9 December 2015 by ‘Agency’. This article is interesting because it seems to be contradicted by and article in the same newspaper on 10 March 2021. I’ll post the latter article later in the week, so that you can decide where the truth lies.

The 2015 article says: “Reading on a tablet encourages boys to think it is “cool” and they are more likely to have their nose in a story for longer.

The study showed boys moved further ahead when reading on tablets

The study, published by the National Literary Trust is based on a survey of 468 pupils at 40 schools across the UK, who took part in an e-reading project.

Overall, youngsters taking part in the scheme saw their reading levels increase by an average of eight months – with boys improving by an average of 8.4 months, compared to 7.2 months for their female classmates.

And while just over half (51.8 per cent) of children saw reading as “cool” before the project, this rose to around two thirds (65.9 per cent) afterwards, with twice as many boys describing reading in this way (66.5 per cent compared to 34.4 per cent at the start of the initiative).

At the same time, the proportion of boys who described reading as difficult fell from 28 per cent to 15.9 per cent.

There was an 11 per cent increase in the number of boys who enjoyed reading using technology, a 25 per cent rise in the number who read daily using ebooks and a 22 per cent increase in those who read for an hour or longer.

In general, there was also a drop in the percentage of schoolchildren who said they could not find things to read that interested them (down from 31.3 per cent to 19.7 per cent).

Irene Picton, research manager at the National Literary Trust, said the study showed the impact of ebooks on reading enjoyment “goes well beyond the novelty” of reading in a new format.

‘Children who enjoy reading are more likely to do better at school and beyond, so finding ways to help children enjoy reading and to do so more often is vital to increase their literacy,’ she said.

‘It is important to recognise the increased reading opportunities that technology offers pupils and how it can help children who struggle to read, for example by giving them the option of increasing the font size of the text. This study indicates that technology has most potential to engage children, particularly boys, who do not enjoy reading.’

A Trust spokesman said it wasn’t clear why young boys were particularly attracted to ebooks but speculated it could be because ‘they can change the size of text, are able to have less or more words on a page’.

The spokesman also said ‘boys feel more comfortable with technology, and it’s an image thing because they prefer to be seen reading an e-book’.

More research on the reasons behind the uptake by boys is expected next year.

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