Story time with e-books ‘not as helpful’ as print books

Parents and children interact less when reading electronic books together than printed ones, a study suggests. Researchers from the University of Michigan found parents talked more about the technology than content when using electronic books. The BBC reports.

With print, the frequency and quality of interactions were better, said lead author Dr Tiffany Munzer.

The results of studying 37 pairs of parents and toddlers appear in the journal Pediatrics.

In the study, the parents and children were observed reading three different formats – printed books, basic electronic books on a tablet and enhanced e-books with features such as sound effects and animation.

The study found that with e-books parents ended up focusing more on the technology, including, for example, telling children not to push buttons or change the volume.

Dr Munzer said: “Shared reading promotes children’s language development, literacy and bonding with parents.” 

“Research tells us that parent-led conversations are especially important for toddlers because they learn and retain new information better from in-person interactions than from digital media.”

The study found that with electronic books, parents asked fewer questions and commented less about the storyline.

The researchers found that electronic book enhancements were likely to be “interfering with parents’ ability to engage in parent-guided conversation” during reading.

“Our findings suggest that print books elicit a higher quality parent-toddler reading experience compared with e-books.”

Read the full article Story time with e-books ‘not as helpful’ as print books

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