Gender differences in the reading of e-books: Investigating children's attitudes, reading behaviors and outcomes

Yueh Min Huang*, Tsung Ho Liang, Chiung Hui Chiu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


As indicated by some studies, the problem of "falling behind" often exists when using computer-assisted learning with children, and gender may be a factor in this. While digital contents presented on various e-readers are promising replacements for paper-and-ink books, the question arises as to whether this emerging technology will have the same effect with boys and girls? Conventionally, boys are believed to have more aptitude for using computer and information technologies, and it is of interest to see if this is true when using e-books in an educational context. In this study, two investigations were conducted to explore children's attitudes, reading behaviors and outcomes in order to find out if there were any gender differences in the reading of e-books. The first investigation was conducted with 166 elementary school students to evaluate their attitudes towards reading with an Interactive E-book Learning System (IELS), a tailor-made e-book learning environment for children. The results showed that the gendered attitudes in terms of the Satisfaction dimension and the expectation for the usable functions were different. Twenty-three sixth-grade children then participated in the second investigation, in which they silently read two e-books in the IELS with a reading behavior tracking technique, and a retrieval test was conducted to assess the reading outcome for each e-book. The results show that while the girls mostly had the behavior of Skimming during the reading process, they outscored the boys in the retrieval tests. Although the application of personalized reading technologies in education, such as reading e-books with IELS, tends to diminish the gap in technology adaptation between the genders, however, the gender differences, as revealed in this work, are still substantial and considerable to factor in children's reading of e-books. In practice, the results of this study suggest that these differences may create reading barriers for some children, and thus should be taken into account when e-books are used for formal learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-110
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Technology and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • E-book reading
  • Elementary school
  • Gender differences
  • Reading attitude
  • Reading behavior
  • Reading outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Engineering


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