With the influx of technology into the world of children’s books, it is interesting to watch the reaction of new parents to the options available to them–read a paper book and turn the pages or pull out your tablet and scroll through the book with your child?
A recent article in the New York Times, “For Their Children, Many E-Book Fans Insist on Paper,” discusses the many reasons that adult techie parents are insisting on reading the old fashioned paper books to their kids. According to the article, they love the cuddle factor of holding a book and turning the pages, the multi-sensory experience of holding, smelling and viewing different sized shapes and sizes of books and having them in abundance, available to their kids. Parents seem to be slower to adopt the digital versions of their child’s books, even though Mom and Dad prefer to read on their tablets versus a paper book. Maybe it’s a link to their childhood or just a hard phenomenon to explain but somehow a paper book seems warm and fuzzier to share with their child.
According to the article, there is something lost in converting a paper book to it’s digital counterpart:…” is anything lost by taking a picture book and converting it to an e-book? Junko Yokota, a professor and director of the Center for Teaching Through Children’s Books at National Louis University in Chicago, thinks the answer is yes, because the shape and size of the book are often part of the reading experience. Wider pages might be used to convey broad landscapes, or a taller format might be chosen for stories about skyscrapers.”
For the other side of the story, Jerry Greenfield’s article, “For Reading and Learning Kids Prefer E-Books to Print Books,” sites a quick study of children (small sample size and short duration) that “showed that most of the children preferred reading an e-book to a print book and comprehension between the two formats were the same.”Interestingly enough, children comprehended more from a simple e-book format than enhanced versions with interactive features of the same book. That makes sense because kids can get distracted by all the moving parts and sound effects and lose the story line.
I’ve watched with interest as new parents who have grown up in the digital world, get the latest iSomething and download their books and reading materials, start using their tablet with the kids and then step back to return to paper books. Parents seems to return to some sort of balance, enjoying but limiting iPad books, while loving the time to cuddle up and open the hard covers of a picture book, turning the pages with their little one.