As parents and educators, we must look for the many possible ways for children to read. This includes reading eBooks on the iPad, Kindle, NOOK, or any device with reading apps. Since the reading experience is different, let’s think through how to best use this eBook reading technology for learning purposes.
The Joan Ganz Cooney Center published a report in 2012 that said enhanced eBooks distracted children from comprehending the narrative details. Even if you’re reading with a parent. The Print vs. E-Books report states, “The enhanced E-Book was less effective than the print and basic E-Book in supporting the benefits of co-reading.” (Enhanced means eBooks with sounds, animations, and games.)
“One of the suggestions we make and have started seeing in some enhanced e-books,” Cynthia Chiong of the Center told me in a phone interview, “is the inclusion of a setting where parents/kids can turn off some of the interactive elements.”
She added, “I think a benefit of enhanced e-books is that kids really like them and would probably want to read it over and over again, so parents should encourage that. Also, as with any book reading, educators and parents can really help the learning experience by elaborating on and reinforcing the content.”
A 2016 report showed the need for more research on eBook reading found that IF the design and quality of the eBook were high, generally so was the learning. It echoed the previous research that found enhanced eBooks to be distracting. The researchers also recommended that adults share in the reading experience with children because as literacy experts know, discussion enhances comprehension, language development, and print awareness.
Tips for Reading Enhanced eBooks
Strategy: Read twice. Once for meaning and once for the fun features.
Tips for Kids Reading Any eBook
Show Kids How To . . .
– turn the page without skipping pages
– bookmark a page
– take notes and highlighting
– use the dictionary feature
– look up the overview
– share books
– brighten or dim the screen
– rotate and lock the screen
– increase or decrease the font size
Reading at Bedtime: Good or Bad?
Avoid Screens at Night!
According to a survey by Ipsos Mori and The Reading Agency, half of the bedtime stories are now read on eBooks – either by children to themselves or co-read together. It’s surprising considering the research about poor sleeping after iPad reading.
So just to be clear, the blue light from screens has been proven to adversely affect sleep. Don’t do eBooks before bed.
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