Why e-books might be better for your toddler than paper ones

A new study says digital story time is 'better for learning'... but what do you think?

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We all know that story time is generally an important time for our little ones, right?

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Flicking through a book before bedtime and telling tales to our kids helps them build their imaginations, grasp concepts like colours and animals – and even helps them learn more words.

Now, a new study published in the Frontiers of Psychology journal is agreeing with all that – except for the part about flicking through an actual paperback book.

Researchers Gabrielle Strouse and Patricia A. Ganea, from the University of South Dakota and the University of Toronto respectively, found that e-books were more beneficial in helping toddlers learn than their old-school physical counterparts.

Their study was conducted with 102 toddlers (aged specifically between 17 – 26 months), and their parents.

Some read from an e-book on a Kindle-esque or tablet device, or they read the same story from a paper book. They then asked their toddlers to identify an animal after each story.

It turned out: the glitzy glare of the screen and the bells and whistles technology helped the little ones concentrate more during story time, and get that answer right.

“Strouse and Ganea found that the toddlers who were read the electronic books paid more attention,” Science Daily wrote in its summary of the study.

“[They] made themselves more available for story time, participated more in the process, and commented more about the content than toddlers who were read the print versions of the books.

“The electronic books included background music, animation and sound effects for each page as well as an automatic voiceover that read the text aloud to the child.”

Very interesting findings, wouldn’t you agree?

Though we should note, it seems the study also found that this specifically applies to toddlers, and not necessarily all young children embarking on story time, as e-book offerings for toddlers often feature content that stands on its own, rather than say, a narrative story that a pre-school child would read.

Have your say

Will you consider e-books for your toddler – or do you still like the feel (and smell!) of a classic paper book? Let us know on Facebook, or in the comments below.

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