Although reading digitally is most likely comprising 99% of your child’s methods, it may not be the best way for them to read. Recent studies are finding that digital reading comes with it’s own set of challenges as opposed to picking up a printed book.

Less Comprehension

One of the items discovered in recent studies is that a child’s comprehension is significantly decreased when reading digitally. They don’t seem to grasp what they are reading, and won’t be able to give an overview of the information. It’s basically one of those “in one ear, out the other” type situations, except this comes down to comprehension. This decrease in retention affected all ages as well, including college and university students. 

The Results

When the information on digital media was cut up more, or in smaller chunks, it seemed to improve children’s reading comprehension. But it still lagged using traditional books overall when it comes to reading. The studies observed students in all different levels and ages, including those that already fare well in academia and with those that struggle. All their comprehension levels decreased as a result of reading digitally. 

What May Be the Culprit

What’s hard to gather from the studies though, is whether it’s a question of information overload. We all have understood (and maybe even experienced) that instant access to literally everything can be a little overwhelming to some. Students may be scrolling on their phones all day before and after school, while also scrolling through the same digital means on their laptop, tablet, or phone. 

We’ve also heard about the effects of reading onscreen, and that even adults who work at a computer should rest their eyes throughout the day. Some struggles with comprehension can come from sensory overload with looking at a screen for so long. 


At the end of the day, it’s going to be more beneficial for your kids to have some digital-less time. Limit how much time your kids are on their phones, and be sure to have them start reading with traditional books, even if it’s paired with digital reading. Every little bit helps keep your child focused, and less dependent on technology!

Katie Kyzivat

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