Book Bind

What Do Children Read Online?

Is digital technology capable of making cultural distinctions between literate and non-literate media forms? And if it can’t, how will parents convey the unique value of reading to their children? That’s what Virginia Heffernan is asking today as she explores three linked trends: Children raised in book-filled homes do better at school; homes are increasingly bookless; children increasingly learn to read online. Heffernan explores online learn-to-read material aimed at her 3-year-old son and concludes that, though digital literacy offers many of book literacy’s benefits—particularly those related to independent thinking and “enrich[ing]” one’s “solitude”—it groups reading into the same category as “writing email” and “playing video games.”