Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Media Type Influences Preschooler's Literacy Development: E-Book versus Printed Book Reading

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Media Type Influences Preschooler's Literacy Development: E-Book versus Printed Book Reading

Article excerpt


Joint reading with young children is traditionally performed with printed books and, with an increased trend today, with interactive E-books. In the electronic format the adult's role is sometimes diminishing, substituted by programmed control and increase in multimedia features. Past comparisons of the two media regarding their effects on literacy development yielded mixed results, with small to medium effect sizes, and depending on specific features of the E-books (Zucker, Moody, & McKenna, 2009). In addition to mixed procedures, varied populations, and literacy materials, there are also numerous differences between the compared media characteristics that are often not sufficiently detailed but generally described. In the following study the researchers attempt to list media differences that may affect media, child, and adult interactions.

The term E-book (variously, electronic book, e-book, eBook, e-Book, ebook, digital book, or even e-edition) is reserved today to a book-length digital form publication that consists of text, images, and other multimedia features. The E-book is published on a computer-based platform, nowadays on tablet-like devices in various sizes and shapes that are specifically designed for reading (e.g., electronic readers, such as Kindle, Nook, etc.) or, general purpose (e.g., iPad, Asus, Galaxy, etc.). This paper is concerned with books for young children, usually containing one story and related graphics. The books are sometimes followed by literacy activities, either in electronic or printed formats. The electronic children book is usually dubbed an "interactive E-book". For brevity, we will use the term E-book.

Joint Book Reading and Literacy Growth

Engagement during the preschool years in literacy related activities paves the way to the successful development of basic reading skills and more advanced literacy development (Senechal & LeFevre, 2001; Shatil, Share, & Levin, 2000). A major activity in the early years is joint book reading, when books are available and care givers understand their developmental potential.

Studies that focus on quality of the interaction between parents and children while reading books show that during reading parents focus primarily on images, narrative content, and unfamiliar words, occasions that provide a more natural communication setting with the child. However, they almost never engage in activities that discuss the relationship between letters and sounds or provide information about language, thus limiting the ability of the child to learn the characteristics of print (Adams, 1991; Evans & Saint-Aubin, 2005; Hale & Winkeckler, 1993; Justice, Skibbe, Canning, & Lankford, 2005; Shapiro, Anderson, & Anderson, 1997; Shatil et al., 2000; Sulzby & Teale, 1991). Studies that combined story reading with successive activities, aimed at fostering literacy skills, supported literacy development more than just reading a story or just engaging in isolated literacy activities (Aram, 2006; Yaden et al., 2000).

Also, children learn more when they are actively involved in shared story reading, rather than being passive listeners to a story (Ewers & Brownson, 1999; Haden, Reese, & Fivush., 1996). Children who were active during the reading session understood more and used more words from the story, compared with passive listeners (Senechal, Thomas, & Monker, 1995).

E-Books that Support Literacy Growth

Many commercial E-books do not necessarily promote language and literacy development among young children (De Jong & Bus, 2003; Korat & Shamir, 2004; Shamir & Korat, 2007). Studies have reported that the interactive nature of an E-book can sometimes distract from the story itself (De Jong & Bus, 2002; Okolo & Hayes, 1996; Underwood & Underwood, 1996), because many of the incorporated interactive options divert the child's attention from the text (Korat & Shamir, 2004). …

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