Still have questions?

Join Common Sense Media Plus for timely advice from a community of parents like you.

Join now

Back to topic overview

Back to School

Does reading on the iPad or Kindle count toward my kids' daily reading minutes, or would it be considered screen time?

So long as they're really reading, then it's legit. There isn't a lot of research about the impact of ereading on kids, but reading is the one activity that's consistently cited as universally beneficial for all aspects of kids' lives. Providing a broad selection of both print and electronic books is probably the best route toward general literacy skills. In general, if your kids are reading -- and not getting distracted by the highly interactive features some ebooks have -- then you should encourage them no matter which format they prefer. The best way to ensure that real reading is happening, stick to real books or basic ereaders with paper-like screens that don't download apps. According to the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, print and basic ebooks are better for "literacy-building experiences" than feature-rich, multimedia ebooks. If you want to make sure your kids are comprehending what they're reading, read with them or ask them to read to you.

Try these tips:

  • If your goal is literacy-building, choose basic ebooks and printed books.
  • To engage reluctant readers, choose enhanced books with multimedia features.
  • To help English-language learners, kids with special needs, and busy kids who don't have a lot of time, opt for audiobooks.
  • For times when you can't read to your kid, or for an occasional treat, consider allowing them to listen to books with the audio on. This can actually boost comprehension.
Was this answer helpful?
Sign in or sign up to share your thoughts


Kid, 12 years old

Yes. If she is reading on it, it counts. It would also count if they read magazines, newspaper articles or real books.
Adult written by D-Rae

I think reading anything should count toward kids' daily reading minutes. A Kindle or e-book is just easier to carry around for them. In fact, my 12-year-old just went on a vacation and we downloaded five e-books onto her Kindle so that she would not have to carry so many on the airplane . Even reading a newspaper should be counted, though they can't take an AR test on newspaper articles.
Kid, 12 years old

Yes. The only difference between an e-reader and a book is that an e-reader is smaller, more compact, and can contain more data. But only if it's a REAL e-book. Not any of this "interactive e-picturebook" stuff that has been going around.