Shared Reading: E-books vs. Print
A study in Mind, Brain, and Education investigates whether it matters if parents read to their child using an e-book or print book. The study shows that there is a difference. With interactive books parents talk more about children’s interaction with the book, and less about the story. Moreover, children remember less from the story then when they read a print or a non-interactive e-book.
- When parents read to their child from an interactive e-book;
- they talk more about children’s interaction with the book and less about the story.
- children remember less from the story
- This only holds for interactive e-books. It appears that the interactivity diverts both parents and children from the content of the book.
- Parents and caretakers should keep in mind that children may remember less of the story when they are read to from an interactive e-book.
- Developers of e-books should try to link the interactive elements directly to the storyline of the book.
Is there a difference in shared reading between print and e-books? And does this affect children’s story comprehension?
Study 1: 92 3- to 5- year-olds and a parent; 50% boys. Nearly all parents were female
Study 2: 73 3- to 5- year-olds and a parent; 55% boys. Nearly all parents were female.
Study 1: Parent-child dyads were assigned to read either (1) an interactive e-book (i.e., Fisher-Price PowerTouch Learning System) (2) a print book, or (3) a non-interactive e-book. All dyads were instructed to do what they normally do with books and were videotaped. Approximately 5 minutes of the parent-child interaction was coded for story- (e.g., “Look, Clifford jumped into the soup!’’), and behavior-related language (e.g., “Stop pressing the buttons and listen to the story’’).
Study 2: Parent-child dyads were assigned to read either (1) an e-book or (2) a print book. After reading, the children completed a story comprehension test.
Facts and findings
- Parents who read to their child from print books made more story-related comments (e.g., “Look, Clifford jumped into the soup!’’) than parents who read from interactive e-books.
- Parents reading from interactive e-books made more behavior-related comments (e.g., “Stop pressing the buttons and listen to the story’’) than parents reading from print books.
- However, there was no difference in shared reading when parents read to their child from a print book compared to a non-interactive e-book.
- Children were more likely to recall the content and sequence of the story when they were read to from a print book compared to an interactive e-book.
- However, children in both groups were equally good in indentifying characters and events from the story.