While studies waiver on the pros and cons of screen time for kids, when it comes to reading books, it’s not how you read it that matters so much as what you’re actually reading. In other words, a new study has found that kids’ learning is not affected by reading books on a tablet versus in an actual book.
Researchers at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development took a look at the effects of tablet use in kids who are learning to read. The study, which notably was funded by Amazon, found that both reading from traditional books and storybooks presented on tablets had the ability to teach kids vocabulary and comprehension.
Working with 38 preschoolers, the researchers presented the kids both with stories in video form on a tablet and books of the same stories read out loud. They found no differences in how kids understood the story and what they learned between books and videos. They did, however, find that when kids lacked story comprehension, it was equal regardless of the medium — proving that it was the content of the story itself that affected how much they understood.
“Although nothing can replace the interactivity that comes from a live read aloud experience between an adult and child, there are certain features in video that might enhance word learning, especially for children with limited vocabulary,” said Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s coauthor.
Do you use digital books for reading time with your kids? Share your thoughts in the comments.