TEC Tip: Reading E-Books with Young Children
written by Katie Paciga, PhD and Mary Quest
March 21, 2017
Fred Rogers Center and TEC Center Early Career Research Fellow, Katie Paciga and Mary Quest, a doctoral student and instructor at Erikson Institute, just published a study on e-book reading with young children. The full research article is included below and is available for download here.
Katie and Mary offer these five research-based tips to consider as you plan for e-reading experiences with toddlers and preschoolers:
- Sit in close proximity to your child as you co-engage in e-reading experiences.
- The close proximity, and your shared gaze and attention that come with proximity, work to build bonds between caregiver and child.
- Try placing the tablet on a stable surface when reading e-books with toddlers or preschoolers, rather than on the child’s lap.
- When the device is on the child’s lap, the child may struggle to stabilize the device. This could impact the child’s overall experience with the text.
- Read e-books multiple times with your child.
- This could allow the texts to become a “favorite book” of your child’s.
- Utilize the menu features during the first e-reading experience to read the book yourself to your child, as opposed to letting the device narrate the text.
- Remind children that they sometimes need to wait (i.e., inhibit behavior) for the e-book, or application, in order to interact with the interactives/clickables. Young children may also require prompting to activate (i.e., activate behavior) the interactives/clickables.
- For both selecting and sharing an e-book, consider the child’s developmental level and the child as an individual, including their particular interests.
- Adjust the way you respond to better co-regulate the e-book experience. Two year olds may not read through an entire board book from cover to cover, so consider brief interactions with portions of e-books to be acceptable e-reading experiences for them.
- Utilize affirmations, questions, and verbal and physical prompts (e.g., pointing) to build on the child’s developmental strengths and interests.
Paciga, K. A., & Quest, M. (2017). It’s Hard to Wait: Effortful control and story understanding in adult-supported e-book reading across the early years. Journal of Literacy and Technology, 18(1), 35-79.