The Impact of E-readers on Students’ Motivation to Read and Learn

Reading is an essential part of life and education. It helps us learn new things and practice our knowledge. It also gives us pleasure and enjoyment, especially when we curl up to read a good book we just bought from the bookstore. However, the world has changed a lot in recent years.

Usually, students would go the old fashion way of buying hard-cover textbooks and visiting libraries. But recently, the internet has made learning super easy. You can even find a website that writes essays, which students love because it will write an essay for you; anything can be found and done online.

Adding to online interventions like this, e-readers have become increasingly popular among students. You have likely heard that students read fewer hard-cover books than ever before. The culprit? The rise of e-readers, which are convenient and offer access to a wide range of content. It also encourages users to skim through books at breakneck speeds. So, what are e-readers? Why do people prefer to use them instead of paper books? And what impact does their popularity have on students’ motivation to read and learn?

What Are E-readers?

E-readers, also known as electronic readers or digital book readers, are explicitly designed to browse, buy, store, and read digital versions of books. They typically use electronic ink technology, mimicking the look of printed text on paper, making it easier for the eyes to read for long periods. 

E-readers also have built-in lighting and can store thousands of books, making them a convenient alternative to traditional books for reading on the go. Some popular examples of e-readers include Amazon Kindle, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble Nook. E-readers are often used for reading books but can also be used for other purposes, such as playing video games or watching movies.

E-readers can be used in schools for several purposes, including:

  • As an alternative to textbooks: E-books can be purchased at lower costs than their print counterparts, and they can be made available to all students in a class at once. This has significant implications for students who are unable to afford textbooks or who struggle with reading comprehension.
  • As part of a digital curriculum: E-readers offer opportunities for teachers to develop digital curricula that integrate technology into teaching strategies, such as creating multimedia presentations or embedding videos into lessons.
  • To support struggling readers: Students with reading difficulties often struggle with comprehension because they cannot visualize what they read; e-books can help them visualize words on the page and increase their understanding of text. They may also benefit from using e-books because there are often translations available for languages other than English.

What Are the Pros of E-readers?

The most obvious benefit of using e-readers in school is the ability for students to have books available on demand. This allows them to access content immediately when needed and save time by not having to wait for books to be checked out from the library or for textbooks to be delivered.

Another benefit is that students can carry their entire library with them, eliminating the need to carry heavy bags full of books back and forth between home and school. This also allows students who live far away from school or do not have access to public transportation an easier way to get their required reading.

E-readers can also help improve reading comprehension by providing audio versions of text and visuals that may make it easier for some students to understand complex concepts or vocabulary words.

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Some other benefits of e-readers include:

  • Cost-effective: E-books are often cheaper than their physical counterparts. Students can also use their e-readers to access free e-books available online.
  • Accessibility: E-readers have built-in text-to-speech functionality, which can be helpful for students with visual impairments. They can also increase text size and change font and background color for students with dyslexia or other reading difficulties.
  • Annotating and note-taking: Many e-readers allow students to take notes and highlight text while reading, making studying and reviewing material easier.
  • Reading in low light conditions: E-readers have built-in lighting, which means students can read in dimly lit environments, such as on a plane or in a dark room, without straining their eyes.
  • Environmentally friendly: E-readers use less paper. Therefore, they are more environmentally friendly than traditional books.

Cons of E-readers

The use of e-readers in school is becoming more prevalent as students can access information digitally. While there are some positive effects of student use of e-readers, some adverse effects should be considered when introducing this technology to students.

  1. They’re expensive: The cost of buying an iPad or Kindle, or even just a Kindle app for your phone, can add up quickly. You’ll also need to purchase books for them.
  2. Limited battery life: E-readers rely on battery power, and the battery life can vary depending on usage. If the battery runs out during class or while studying, students cannot access their material.
  3. Distractions: E-readers can have internet access, games, and other features that can be distracting for students. This can make it harder for them to focus on their studies and get high grades.
  4. Dependence on technology: E-readers rely on technology and an internet connection. Hence, students need internet access to access their materials.
  5. Lack of interaction: Physical books can be flipped through, pages can be folded, and they can be marked with notes and annotations. On the other hand, e-readers do not provide the same tactile experience; students can only interact with them through the device’s interface, such as highlighting and note-taking features. This lack of interactivity can make it harder for some students to engage with the material they are reading. The way e-readers function is less interactive than with physical books.
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The Verdict: What Is the Impact of E-readers on Students’ Motivation to Read and Learn

The impact of e-readers on students’ motivation to read and learn is a complex issue with no clear consensus. Some studies suggest that e-readers can increase students’ motivation to read and learn by providing easy access to a wide variety of texts, making it easier to read in dimly lit environments, and allowing students to take notes and highlight text while they are reading. However, the study found that e-readers did not significantly impact motivation to read or learn. This can be explained by the fact that the students could still hold their e-readers and use them as they usually would.

Students who were given e-readers reported being motivated to read more often than students who were not given e-readers. Students also reported being less likely to lose their e-readers than their paper books. The results of this study show that there needs to be clear evidence supporting or refuting whether or not giving students e-readers will increase their motivation to read outside of school.

On the other hand, other studies suggest that e-readers can negatively impact students’ motivation to read and learn by providing distractions such as games, internet access, and other features and a lack of physical sensation or interactivity that physical books provide. 

It is important to note that the impact of e-readers on students’ motivation to read and learn may vary depending on individual students’ preferences and learning styles, as well as how they are being used in the classroom. Ultimately, it may be beneficial for students to have access to both e-readers and physical books to find the format that works best for them.


Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether or not e-readers are a good thing. However, it would help if you carefully weighed the pros and cons and considered how they will impact your students’ reading habits. Whatever decision you make will always be influenced by your students’ needs and interests.

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