Is Reading The Best Way To Help Children Learn?

Written By Seung June Yoon (Introductory Critical Writing)

“People. Animals. Love.”, a Washington-based nonprofit organization, given the recent pandemic, has begun to hold online classes via Zoom to help children improve their reading skills by letting them read to dogs. This is just one of the many examples of reading which can help children to learn and flourish. I believe that reading is the best way to help children learn. In order to prove this, I would like to analyze a few examples below, including E-books and websites, traditional paperback books, and audiobooks. 

Firstly, I would like to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of E-books and websites. Reading E-books or websites can benefit children because electronic devices are portable and possibly easier to carry around, which can help children learn or revise more often or more easily. For example, reading from your phone, which you always carry around in your pocket, can certainly be much more convenient than going all the way to your teacher’s classroom and asking for another lesson on maths. Websites can also provide much more information than any ordinary audiobook or class session. However, electronic devices do have some disadvantages. Too much time in front of a screen can be harmful towards one’s eyes, so it may be wise to not sit in front of a computer reading all day, and E-books can be a little distracting. After all, students could easily do anything other than reading on a computer. Because real life examples and logic clearly show that reading from E-books and computer websites are more good than bad, I believe that reading is the best way to help children learn. 

Secondly, I would like to analyze traditional paperback books, as well as their pros and cons. According to NextPage, traditional paperback books are the best type of books for nighttime reading and studying, since reading an E-book uses more effort and the device hurts our eyes. Furthermore, NextPage also states that studies have shown that reading printed books or textbooks can make it easier to remember the contents of a book than an E-book or an online article. Reading a normal paperback also has some other advantages, like being able to skip to different pages, which can make it easier to fully understand a book or article, unlike an audio book. But everything has a least a few disadvantages, and the traditional paperback book is no exception. Although it has several good sides, the traditional paper book is expensive compared to an E-book, and it can possibly be harder to carry around.  Therefore, because physical books have more advantages than disadvantages, I believe that reading is the best way to help children learn. 

Finally, I will now begin to examine audiobooks to determine their positive and negative sides. Audiobooks have one major advantage: that they are convenient. You can listen to an audiobook while doing something else, like cleaning or working. It can also save space, since an audiobook can be easier to carry around than a hardcover book. Though multitasking and listening to an audiobook may save time, it has one big flow. It will not help children learn as much as an E-book or paperback book. According to Transcription Outsourcing, LLC, listening can be challenging for humans because it requires major comprehension skills. When listening to an audiobook or speech, one must always be able to listen, interpret, and understand what a person is saying. When reading, however, a person can read at their own speed and pace, which can help many people fully understand and process information. Reading a book requires more concentration than listening, and this leads to more focused learning. And audiobook may be the most convenient way to listen to a book, but, because audiobooks are not very effective in teaching children, I believe reading is the best way to help children learn. 

Some people might say that reading E-books and computer websites are bad for our eyes, and that electronic devices are distractive, and that is true. However, if we limit the amount of screen times we have or install a blue light filter, we can easily protect our eyes from damage. And if teachers or parents can strictly manage what their children are doing on the computer, or simply give their children “E-book only” devices like a kindle, this problem can also be fixed. Some people might also say that the traditional paperback book is expensive and inconvenient, and that is true. But if we use textbooks in class, paperbacks at home, and E-books when travelling, we could always have something to read handy. 

Because E-books and computer websites are more good than bad, traditional paperback books are more good than bad, and listening to an audiobook isn’t as effective in teaching children as reading, I strongly believe that reading is the best way to help children learn. Listening may be more convenient, but reading allows us to learn at our own pace, letting us better understand exactly what we are learning about. Reading also enables us to make more connections with our background knowledge, and ultimately results in a more detailed understanding of the subject at hand. Learning is not just about piling up heaps of knowledge. It is about gluing those piles together, and using them to create a better insight of the world.