eBooks and Literacy: A Complicated & Complementary Relationship

The following is an essay on the correlation between eBooks and youth literacy rates. This essay was written for my Digital Media & Society class at UMUC and I received an A.



The statistics linking literacy to various indicators of success in adulthood (such as employment, financial status, and even level of civic engagement) overwhelmingly argue for early adoption of hobby reading (“Reading Quotient: The Indicator of Success,” n.d.). Today, the written word has evolved beyond the Little Golden Books of yesteryear and young readers can now access an unlimited library of titles with only a Wi-Fi signal and mobile device. But is digital reading helping to attract new fans or is it simply another battle that parents and educators have to fight against screen time? The research shows that eBooks are an asset to readers and serve only to improve, not weaken, literacy rates. First, using eBooks in both school and public libraries offers a wider range of titles to a broader audience, including children of lower socioeconomic status or who have learning disabilities. eBooks also motivate children to read and may offer a better comprehension of the literature over reading traditional print books. However, the digitization of books is a but one of many useful academic tools and should not be used as the only source for informational or recreational reading; it’s most effective when supplemented with additional enrichment.

(full text available here: STerry Project 1 Argument Paper)

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