E-storybooks and paper storybooks for preschoolers: effects on attention, learning and engagement

Richter, Anna (2016) E-storybooks and paper storybooks for preschoolers: effects on attention, learning and engagement. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The increasing availability of electronic storybooks (e-books) for preschoolers has raised a variety of concerns regarding their potential to distract children and diminish prereading skill acquisition as well as change the nature of the parent-child interaction during book reading. Alternatively, because e-books are delivered via popular mobile devices, it has been suggested that they might motivate children to read more, allow children to benefit from built-in reading aids, and increase their focused attention to story details. The current study investigated the utility of e-books for facilitating early literacy skills in a sample of 79 3 to 5-year-olds. Children read an e-book and paper storybook with an experimenter and were asked story comprehension questions following each book reading. Children then completed two measures of executive function (Day-Night Task and Digit Span Task) as well a measure of receptive vocabulary. Dependent measures were children’s (1) recall of factual and inferred story detail (2) duration of looking to book, adult, and off-task during reading, (3) engagement and communication during story reading. ANOVAs revealed that: (1) there was a significant increase in recall of story information across age, but no difference as a function of story format (2) all children were highly attentive during story reading but looked relatively more at the e-book than the paper book and more at the adult during the paper book reading (3) children were engaged with and communicated about both stories, but more so with the e-book than the paper book. The results of the current study suggest that carefully designed e-books support story comprehension similarly to paper books and also increase children’s engagement and communication during book reading.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/12204
Item ID: 12204
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 82-93).
Keywords: E-books
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Preschool children--Books and reading; Reading (Preschool); Children's electronic books; Preschool children--Psychology

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