“Given the choice between reading e-books or print books, children prefer e-books, a new, exploratory field study shows. Children who read e-books also retain and comprehend just as much as when they read print books, the study also suggests.
A new “QuickStudy” – so named for its short duration and the small size of its sample group – from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center observed 24 families with children ranging in age from three-to-six reading both print and e-books in the Summer and Fall of 2011. Most of the children in the study preferred reading an e-book to a print book and comprehension between the two formats were the same.
‘If we can encourage kids to engage in books through an iPad, that’s a win already,’ said Carly Shuler, senior consultant for industry studies at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop is a New York based non-profit organization dedicated to understanding how children learn through digital media.
Enhanced e-books – those that have more bells and whistles than e-books, like interactive features and games – were also compared in the study with their regular e-book counterparts. Children recalled fewer of the details of the content of enhanced e-books versus the same e-book.
‘Kids were more focused on tapping things and that took away from their comprehension as well as the interaction between the parent and the child,’ said Shuler.
The findings from the study are preliminary and the Joan Ganz Cooney center will be conducting larger, more rigorous studies of the issue. Two more QuickStudies are currently being conducted around the questions of why parents and children select certain e-books over others and how parents and children read e-books together.”
Oh, our little digital natives.
But really, just bring on the reading. I think exposure to ebooks is an important step in developing children’s visual literacy along with digital literacy. And of course, their ability to read.