In today’s world, people are no longer confined to reading print books. Many people are embracing the digital world they live in by accessing reading materials through electronic devices. Over the last couple of years, e-reading capabilities have shifted to become available through devices like smart phones, tablets, computers, and e-book readers. While many individuals have noted the physical differences between reading print versus reading electronically, few have studied if the use of e-readers alters the manner in which material is read. Without the consideration of these effects, many schools have begun using electronic reading devices in the classroom as a substitute for print books. Therefore, it is important that the effects of e-reader usage on their ability to understand or comprehend literature be studied, in order to afford today’s children, the internet generation, the best opportunities for success in literacy.
When discussing the effects of e-books on reading comprehension, it is important to define both e-books and reading comprehension. E-books are defined as any digitized book that is accessible through a variety of electronic devices such as a desktop computer, e-reading device, Smartphone, or tablet (“E-books,” 2012). E-books can be used to access a variety of both free and paid reading materials made available through the internet. While they may not provide the same feeling of reading a printed book, many e-books contain features that allow readers to highlight, underline, and add notes to the text (“E-books,” 2012).
Reading comprehension refers to the ability to decipher the meaning of written text. There are three required elements needed for adequate understand of written material: a knowledge of words (vocabulary), an understanding of sentences, and an understanding of passages. Possessing an expansive vocabulary makes it easier for the reader to understand the meaning of the text. An understanding of sentences requires the reader to draw on what information is provided in the text as well as infer on the meaning of what is not explicitly said. Additionally, by putting together the meaning of sentences the reader is able to understand the passage as a whole, and determine the overall meaning of the story. Beyond the knowledge of the individuals themselves, a number of psychological and social factors can affect their reading comprehension. For children, their motivation to read as well as their learning style and home environment may contribute not only to their comprehension skills, but also to their further development as a reader (Aaron, 2005).
It is indisputable that advanced literacy skills are crucial to success in the twenty-first century (Murnane, Sawhill, & Snow, 2012). Even in a world of highly accessible information provided through the internet, significant literacy skills are needed to discern what information is valid and can hold up to scrutiny. (Murnane, Sawhill & Snow, 2012). Today’s children,...