The recent Joan Ganz Cooney Center quick study, “Print books vs. eBooks” has caused quite a stir in reading and techno-panic circles—inspiring paper book purists to condemn eBooks all together and the eBook curious to become more vociferous about the merits and potential of tablet-based literary experiences. These articles beg the questions: What were the results of the study? Why should parents and children’s book lovers care?
“Print books vs. eBooks” study in a nutshell:
Purpose of study: To compare parent-child reading interactions, child reading engagement and child reading comprehension across basic, eBook and enhanced (multi-media) book formats.
Methodology: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center “recruited 32 pairs of parents and their 3-6-year-old children at the New York Hall of Science’s Preschool Place. Each pair read a print book and either an enhanced or basic e-book while researchers videotaped their interactions and took observational notes. Following the co-reading task, researchers tested the children on their comprehension of the story and interviewed parents about their reading practices at home and elsewhere.”
“Across all book formats, children performed nearly equally when asked to explain a critical element in the story.”
“Children who read enhanced eBooks recalled significantly fewer narrative details than children who read the print version of the same story.”
“When measuring overall engagement—a composite of parent-child interaction, child-book interaction, parent-book interaction, and signs of enjoyment—63% of the pairs were as engaged reading the print book as they were when reading the e-book (both types).”
“When measuring child-book engagement (e.g., direct attention, touch), more children showed higher levels of engagement for the e-books than the print books… Children also physically interacted with the enhanced e-book more than when reading either the print or basic e-book.” See full study details here.
What does this study have to do with my child? Why should I care? (more…)