Upgrades are great when it comes to flying, but what is there to say about trading traditional books for eBooks? In an eWorld filled with nooks, kindles, iPads and more, the question remains are eBooks more effective for kids reading?
In a Maine school district study, 16 iPads were distributed to 16 kindergarteners over a 9-week period. When 236 students were given literacy tests before and after the distribution, it was found that students using the iPad “outperformed students not using an iPad in every literacy test by a significant margin.”
Although the sample size is small, the data seems promising as evidenced by other similar studies. In the 2007 British Journal of Educational Technology, Shirley Grimshaw published the results of her eBook study. She found that although students took a longer time to read from an electronic reader, children who used the eVersion of the text generally did the best on the comprehension exam.
Of course, claims run high that eBook enjoyment can be attributed to a novelty factor, but many cases point to their ability to support literacy and language development.
But keep in mind, the battle between traditional and electronic books goes beyond the reading platform. It is important, regardless of the text used that parents engage in their child’s reading habits.
In a recent New York Times piece Bringing Up an E-Reader, adjunct assistant professor at Vanderbilt University explains, “the most important thing is sitting and talking with your children.” Whether a parent or child opts for an eBook or a traditional book, “Co-interacting, co-viewing is the best way for them to learn.”
eBook naysayers would have to agree. In a recent post on A Dude’s Guide: Fatherhood Advice and Topics from Dad, the author shares his concerns with eReaders. His doubts are limited though. He explains that it is “enthusiastic [parent] participation” that will allows young readers to extract the full benefits of eBooks or traditional books.
So the studies have spoken, its plastic over paper. eBooks are on the rise for good reason, but don’t let your little reader get too carried away alone. In the end it’s all about student engagement. Be sure to practice your BB and Sam voices. Getting into character really helps out!
Keep Calm and Lean On,
Visit “The Adventures of BB and Sam” our book series for families with global curiosity @ BBandSam.com
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