Traditional Reading vs. Digital Reading: How to Help Your Child Maintain a Healthy Balance

By Books2All Team

Fri 1 Sep 2023

The Internet has become an indispensable part of our lives, especially when it comes to education. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of schools turned to the digital world to help children continue their learning.

Why Is Traditional Reading Better Than Digital Reading? 

Technology can definitely enhance your child’s reading experience, but it should never replace it. Here are a few reasons why traditional reading should remain your child’s most important learning method:

1. Print Reading is Less Straining On The Eyes

The light most of our PC’s and mobile phones produce is known to cause serious strain on the eyes. It’s a bad idea to read digitally for hours, so make sure your child doesn’t stop reading paper books as well. E-readers like Kindle are also a good idea since they use different types of light which are kinder to the eyes. 

2. Traditional Reading Uses All The Senses

When you read, you don’t just use your eyes. You use touching, feeling, and sometimes even smelling, senses which can enhance the reading experience. According to a study, the simple act of flipping pages as opposed to just scrolling helps readers process information better and remember it for longer. The study also showed that the sensorimotor cues involved in digital reading (clicking a button or scrolling) are simply not as effective. 

3. Traditional Reading Leads to Increased Comprehension

The so-called shallowing hypothesis says that reading online teaches the brain to process information quickly but less thoroughly. 

Through constant scrolling, we tend to acquire surface information quickly without ever going in depth. Not just that, but screens have ever-changing information on them and it’s hard to focus on something specific for long periods of time.

That doesn’t happen in traditional reading. When reading a book, you get to see a large amount of information on the page in a set structure. This set structure (e.g. knowing where the images are, or where a paragraph is positioned on the page) actually helps boost comprehension of the reading material. 

4. Mindless Scrolling Is Full of Distractions

When you read a book, your focus is solely on the page. However, when scrolling online, it is much easier to get distracted by videos, pop-up ads, new content etc. The worst part is – the more you do it, the harder it is to break away from the habit.

Girl reading a book with headphones on

So, How Do We Embrace Technology?

There are plenty of reasons why your child should stick to traditional reading instead of digitally. Still, despite the downsides, technology does have its benefits as well, and is here to stay. When used to enhance your child’s reading instead of replacing it, it can make a world of difference. So, how do you help your child maintain a healthy relationship with the digital world, and keep their reading habit alive?

Add Ebooks and Audiobooks to The Reading List

Reading digitally can be very convenient, especially if your child is commuting to school. However, reading on a bright screen for hours can be tiring and causes serious eye strain. Ebooks are a better alternative if you need something small and portable for your child. 

Audiobooks can also be very convenient and are especially helpful if your child has a reading or learning disability.

Replace Screen Time with Joint Reading Sessions

Children do as you do, not as you say, which is why fostering a long-term reading habit in your child starts with you. A great way to do so is by making time for joint reading sessions with your kid. This way, you replace otherwise wasted screen time with valuable time together. You’ll make priceless memories while also helping them find joy in traditional reading.

There’s no reason not to embrace the digital world, and use it to enhance the traditional reading experience of children. That’s why here, at Books2all, we use technology to bring life to school libraries by connecting people like you to schools in need.

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