Tree books beat ebooks every time for toddler development
The Sector > Research > Understanding Children > Tree books beat ebooks every time for toddler development

Tree books beat ebooks every time for toddler development

by Freya Lucas

December 08, 2021

Higher quality interactions are formed when adults and children read traditional print-based books over digital apps, a study from the University of Michigan has found.


Researchers examined interactions between 72 parents with their toddlers ages 24-36 months and compared interactions while reading tablet apps versus traditional children’s books.


Parents talked more to their children – with children in turn responding to them more – while reading the print version, according to the study which was recently published in Pediatrics


Children more prone to emotional outbursts also responded to their parents better when reading from a book.


“Parent-child interactions through shared reading promote language development and literacy and may also benefit friendships, school success and other child development outcomes later in life,” said lead author Tiffany Munzer, M.D., a behavioural developmental pediatrician at University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.


The new study supports Dr Munzer’s earlier findings indicating that when parents and children read print books, they talk more frequently, and the quality of their interactions are better than when they read electronic books.


“Tablets and mobile devices are prominent fixtures in modern family life, but they aren’t as educational or valuable to children’s development as traditional books,” she added.  


Software designers creating e-reading material for children should seek input from trained early childhood specialists to cater the delivery of content for children and eliminate distractions like animations and ads, the doctor added. Children’s health providers should also help guide parents on media use.


“Pediatricians should continue to recommend that parents co-view digital media with their children when possible, ask open-ended questions and talk during reading time to help their children engage and learn,” Dr Munzer said.


To access the study please see here

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