Below is a reposted article, sponsored by Renaissance Learning, an automation company which profits are generated by student reading scores across the country, thus their business interest is boosted by the results of this study. As well, the variables of images /diagrams / picture books was not factored into the results. While an interesting study, one needs to take it with a grain of salt.
There’s no real difference between ebooks and traditional paper books when it comes to kids’ reading comprehension, says a new study.
“Student Comprehension of Books in Kindle and Traditional Formats” by Michael Milone, a research psychologist and educational writer at Renaissance Learning, asked students in two fourth-grade classes located in the Upper Midwest to read up to six books from a selected list of a dozen popular fiction titles that included Eleanor Estes’s Ginger Pye (Harcourt, 1951), Gary Paulsen’s Lawn Boy (Random, 2007), Mary Pope Osborne’s Sunset of the Sabertooth (Random, 1996), and Megan McDonald’s Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid (Candlewick, 2005). The 31 students—who read a total of 135 books, 69 on the Kindle and 66 in print—were asked to alternate between reading half of the books on the Kindle and the other half in a bound, printed format. After reading each one, they completed a brief, computer-based Accelerated Reader quiz to measure their understanding.
Milone found that there was no statistically significant difference in reading comprehension levels, with students correctly answering an average of 88 percent of questions about the books read on the Kindle, compared to 88.5 percent of questions answered correctly for print books.
“Results of the study indicate that parents and educators can rest easy knowing that students comprehend books they read digitally as well as they comprehend books read in a print format,” especially since electronic reading devices are rapidly becoming popular for both personal and educational use, the study says. Only narrative texts were used, and the results do not include informational texts or textbooks.
“As more schools and districts begin to incorporate ereaders into the curriculum, it is important to better understand how students comprehend books read digitally compared with print books,” says Glenn James, the CEO Renaissance Learning, a provider of tech-based student assessment programs for K-12 schools. “The results of this study confirm that every book read, in any format, is another step toward higher student achievement.”
Although previous research suggests no difference in reading comprehension between digital and print formats, many of those studies were conducted using animated storybooks—and none involved extensive reading for pleasure in a typical school setting.
When asked about using the Kindle, the majority (76 percent) of students said it was very easy to use. In terms of their reading comprehension, 28 percent found the Kindle much easier to understand than a printed book, 24 percent said it was a little easier, and 40 percent said it was about the same. If given a choice, 62 percent of those surveyed said they preferred to read using a Kindle rather than a book.
“The large number of books in the study and the naturalistic approach to the research—students read the books in a typical setting at school or at home—suggest that the results are dependable, and that students’ comprehension of narrative texts is the same for ereaders and print books,” the study says. “Students enjoy reading on ereaders, and the novelty effect of these devices may encourage less proficient students to read more.”
The study may help educators, especially since a growing number of individual schools and districts are incorporating ereaders like the Kindle and Nook, as well as tablet computers into the curriculum.
“This trend has not gone unnoticed by educational publishers; most are at least dabbling in adapting their texts to electronic formats,” the study adds.
Even though a relatively small number of students were used in the study, the report says its findings are dependable, “but replication and extension are clearly necessary.” The study does point out some limitations, saying that its results should not be applied to all forms of reading on digital devices. “Reading on a very small screen device, however, like a smartphone or online reading, with its links, multiple pages, and sometimes distracting graphics, pose very different comprehension challenges.”
The greatest limitation of the study is that students read narrative rather than informational texts, and “research has found that most ereaders are used for reading for pleasure, and most users are satisfied with their devices for this purpose.” When it comes to studying, traditional print books are preferred to ebooks.
Participants read the books beginning in early April 2011 after spring break, and the study concluded during the final week in May. The lists of books, in the order they were to be read, were provided to students, teachers, and librarians.
as cited from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/home/893368-312/no_difference_between_kids_comprehension.html.csp