No app can replace a lap – why experts are concerned about the rise of digital stories

by Freya Lucas

February 10, 2020

Literacy specialists have expressed concern about the rise of digital storytelling websites, which feature celebrities reading children’s books, worried that children are missing out on the benefits of “live reading”, such as language development, critical thinking, problem solving, and memory.

 

Regular reading with children generates lifelong cognitive benefits, with studies showing that children who are read five books a day from birth will begin kindergarten having heard around 1.4 million more words than children who were never read to. 

 

Researcher Dr Ameneh Shahaeian, who has conducted research linking NAPLAN scores and reading habits as predictors of academic success, has been quoted as saying that the advantages of reading in real life “far outweigh the convenience of online channels” as they allow children to  interact and ask questions or say if they don’t understand something.

 

Dr Shahaeian’s research has shown that shared reading, as enjoyed between caregivers and children, has been linked with superior language skills and early reading abilities. Further, she has found that shared reading carries through to knowledge of shapes, letters, words and numbers, as well as vocabulary knowledge and early academic skills.

 

Her strongest finding was that there is a “significant direct relationship” between shared reading at two to three years of age and academic achievement six years later in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and mathematics.

 

To learn more about the value of shared reading experiences with children, please see here. 

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