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Guest Post: Making Success Accessible Through Digital Reading


Today’s guest post comes from Dave Mendelsohn, Corporate Research Manager of Scholastic. Dave explains how eReading is growing rapidly and as more devices are available at lower prices, young people have more opportunities to read, and in turn, be successful. Libraries are also embracing eReading, which further enables young people to access digital books. If books are readily available on a medium they prefer, young people will choose to read more for pleasure. Dave explains this trend below and how eReading serves as an equalizer.

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author, Dave Mendelsohn, and not necessarily those of Scholastic.

Guest Post: Making Success Accessible Through Digital Reading

eReading is on the rise. To mollify some initial concern about the cost of device ownership, the market has responded positively, with lower prices and the introduction of e-reading apps, such as Scholastic’s Storia, that can be used, for free, on a PC, iPad, or Android tablet. While all of this is happening, the digital native generation is embracing and benefiting from the change; a study by Bowker found that more than 40% of kids are now e-reading, whereas nearly none had done so before 2010.

And this change is affecting the way adults read too, which, in turn benefits their kids. While books may traditionally be a part of the background, making them a primary part of everyday digital life — seeing parents read, having easy access to a variety of literature, valuing the time spent with a book — will translate into future success in life. In fact, this accessibility appears to be the lynchpin in a child’s overall education. A study by the University of Nevada, Reno found that growing up in a household with a “library” of 500 books or more increases the level of education children will attain later in life. 500 books may sound like a lot, but that’s precisely what makes eReading such an equalizer. No longer does a household need to have a room devoted to stacks of books when instead families can fit countless volumes on one single, portable device.

The value of reading is well-known, but in recent years, for many kids, reading for pleasure has declined. The ability for these often over-scheduled and hyper-connected kids to step back from their reality and become a magician, the President, a knight, or a superhero for just a little bit everyday means they will engage their imagination, and this may be more important than ever before. Reading brings about creative thinking while at the same time, keeps the mind focused. This is a tough thing for this multi-tasking generation, who are spending their time in front of the TV while updating their status on Facebook and texting back and forth with friends. Inserting reading into digital life may be the answer. In talking with kids about their reading habits, it is clear: youth will read more if they have better, easier access to books they like.

And access is spreading. Many libraries are joining the eReading bandwagon as well. Not only are they making eReading devices such as the Nook and Kindle available on loan, if a household already has a device, they can check out books often without even having to make a trip out. For many parents, this is time and money saved, and means their children can have ready-access to books on the go, even while traveling without having to devote valuable luggage space to carry them. The “e” may stand for “electronic” but as accessibility increases, the “e” could just as easily represent “equality.”

 Dave Mendelsohn

DaveDave Mendelsohn, Corporate Research Manager of Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher of children’s book, has a background in research spanning 10+ years and advanced degrees in Sociology and Survey Research. He lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with his wife and soon-to-be twins.  Dave can usually be found running in Central Park, competing in triathlons and marathons around the country, or catching up on sleep before his twins arrive.