Research on the effects of eReading on children and reading comprehension is still in its infancy. Some research suggests that eReading motivates children to read more. Other research suggests eReading may have a negative effect on children's ability to make sense of more demanding texts.
The New York Times referred to research by Schugar and Schugar of West Chester University, in which 'they asked middle school students to read either traditional printed books or e-books on iPads. The students’ reading comprehension, the researchers found, was higher when they read conventional books.'
Students reading e-books are losing out, study suggests — New York Times
A second study looked at students’ use of eBooks. They found children often skipped text, preferring the books’ interactive visual features. The writers emphasised the importance of helping young readers transfer print reading skills to eBook reading.
An article in The New Yorker discusses the effects of digital texts on reading speed and comprehension, and the perceived decline in deep reading skills. Cognitive neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf is quoted in the article:
The same plasticity that allows us to form a reading circuit to begin with, and short-circuit the development of deep reading if we allow it, also allows us to learn how to duplicate deep reading in a new environment ... We cannot go backwards. As children move more toward an immersion in digital media, we have to figure out ways to read deeply there.
Being a better online reader — The New Yorker