E-Book Features Unrelated to Narrative May Hinder Preschooler Learning Sounds, animation and games that are disconnected from story narrative in tablet e-books may not add up to much for young children’s education, a new research review finds. Enhanced e-book features not linked to story content can be distracting to children ages 3 to 5, say researchers at the University ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   January 01, 2017
E-Book Features Unrelated to Narrative May Hinder Preschooler Learning
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Development / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   January 01, 2017
E-Book Features Unrelated to Narrative May Hinder Preschooler Learning
The ASHA Leader, January 2017, Vol. 22, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.22012017.16
The ASHA Leader, January 2017, Vol. 22, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.22012017.16
Sounds, animation and games that are disconnected from story narrative in tablet e-books may not add up to much for young children’s education, a new research review finds.
Enhanced e-book features not linked to story content can be distracting to children ages 3 to 5, say researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), and may ultimately be detrimental to learning when compared with print books and well-designed e-books.
“With the widespread adoption of tablets, youngsters’ use of e-books continues to increase,” says Stephanie Reich, lead author of the study and UCI associate professor of education. “Preschoolers can learn equally well—and sometimes more—from appropriately designed e-books as from printed books, but enhanced e-books often contain features that are more distracting than educational, so careful selection is vital.” The article was published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.
Reich and her team performed a qualitative synthesis of 11 studies and other works related to e-reading and print reading in children.
They found that visual and/or auditory features added to the narrative of a story—such as suspenseful music playing when a character like the Big Bad Wolf is approaching—can facilitate children’s comprehension. However, sounds and other features that don’t add to the narrative—like ambient sounds of trees in the wind—can hinder a child’s understanding by causing cognitive overload.
When reading e-books with children, researchers suggest adults make sure the conversation is more focused on the story than the device itself. They also note that “well-designed” e-books have features such as “music that conveys characters’ mood or alphabet books with letters that make the letter sound.”
Reich notes the need for more research on e-books and e-reading so that “parents and educators can be critical consumers of these technologies.”
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January 2017
Volume 22, Issue 1