By Rachel Benedict | Categories Blog | August 14, 2020

Exciting innovations in technology have wildly evolved over the last decade. You can hold the universe in the palm of your hand, view high-definition videos with lightning speed, and connect with people all over the world with a simple tap on a screen. Pretty cool, right?

But what do these technological innovations mean for old-fashioned reading? Is technology taking over?

The answer is yes, but the benefits of reading do not decrease as technology booms. In fact, the benefits of reading become more important than ever before.

Screen time use by children, tweens, and teens has doubled in the last five years and continues to grow. Teens are connected to screens for videos, TV shows, movies, social media, video games, and more. Phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions are a huge part of their daily lives—so let’s use them for good, and fun.

Technology + Reading = Win

Did you know that 8 to 12-year-olds use around five hours of screen time per day while teens average around 7.5 hours per day? These averages don’t account for homework or learning time. Reading for fun decreases the older a child gets, especially if reading isn’t established as a daily habit.

Only six percent of Americans name reading as a favorite evening activity—the lowest Gallup has recorded in its trend. More and more families are spending time watching TV as a favorite evening routine, while reading is dropping considerably.

Technology is an excellent way to enhance learning by increasing the brain’s ability to assimilate and decode information. This juxtaposition between increases in screen time and decreases in reading time is cited as one reason for the literacy crisis in America, where less than 35% of students are proficient readers.

There is a way to reverse both disparate trends. Make screen time reading time by simply turning on the closed captions. Every 30 minutes of screen time equals reading 30 pages of a book!

So how does Kids Read Now help?

When most people think of summer, they easily envision backyard barbecues, swimming pools, vacation, and long lazy days in the sun. When we think about summer, we think about the dreaded summer slide and how it disproportionately affects disadvantaged students.

Over summer, a divide plagues those from lower income families and places them at a sharp disadvantage in obtaining books or accessing online learning tools. Our reading programs are the easiest way to deliver high-quality, reading-range-ready books to kids at their home address—no technology needed! So, crack open that book to create a healthy, lifelong habit and turn on closed captions whenever you can!

By Rachel Benedict

Rachel has always been a reader – in fact, her first job was in a library! Growing up surrounded by books ignited her passion for literacy and her history volunteering with Special Olympics Indiana and local community organizations solidified her need to improve communities, especially for kids. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with her bachelor’s in Homeland Security and Emergency Management in 2014, and her Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Community Development in 2017. She joined the Kids Read Now team in 2018 and manages our social media, Latest in Literacy blog, and helps involve communities in their schools’ reading initiatives. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, tending to her garden, chilling with her chickens, working out, playing piano, coaching baseball, and reading.


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