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2017.07.27 Digital picture books effective especially for toddlers
It is known that children who are read to by their carers are more eager to learn and to gain new knowledge. However, whether it is better to use digital picture books or traditional printed books is still yet to be confirmed.

Patricia A. Ganea of Canada's University of Toronto may have the answer to this question. Ganea teamed up with Gabrielle A. Strouse, of the University of South Dakota in the U.S.A, to conduct research with 102 randomly selected children aged between 17 to 26 months. The children were either read picture books in digital format or in printed form by their carers. The difference was that the digital version came with a read-aloud function and other sound effects such as animal noises and some background music.

The results showed that carers pointed more often to the printed book while reading, and there was no difference in the time they talked with their child about the story. Toddlers paid more attention when they were shown digital picture books by pointing to the pictures more so than the printed ones, and showed more eagerness at being read to.

The researchers have commented that short sentences and individual pages in books aimed at toddlers may tend to be more effective in digital form than longer stories that preschoolers read. However, the effectiveness of digital books will require further studies.

In 2017 March, Ganea and Strouse also published a report in Elsevier’s International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, finding that the adults feel there is less interaction with their child when using digital devices to read, compared to using traditional printed books.

In Japan in 2014, research by Nobuo Masataka of Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute showed the possibility that digital formats of picture books may have unique learning effects on toddlers.

For further information please refer to the following websites: