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Preschoolers' story comprehension similar for print and digital books

Phys.org
The content of a children's book—not its form as a print book or a digital book—predicts how well children understand a story, finds a new study by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The findings, presented on May 1 at the American Educational Research Association's annual meeting in San Antonio, suggest that both digital stories and reading storybooks in person present opportunities for learning vocabulary and comprehension. Given the rich language in books, reading aloud storybooks is an important activity for engaging children and developing their early literacy skills. Research has found that children learn better through interactions with a live person than with video presentations. This learning difference, demonstrated in numerous studies with infants and toddlers, has been coined the "video deficit." Is the "video deficit" still present as children grow into preschoolers? The current study, funded by Amazon, examined children's word learning and comprehension from stories read aloud and in digital form. It sought to determine whether there are differences in children's vocabulary and comprehension, as well as their interest in stories, depending on the medium.

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables