iPad vs. Print Books – How do They Differ?
With the advent of the iPad, parents now have more options when reading to their children. Most children’s books are released in both iPad and print format. But does it matter which one parents use when reading to their children? According to a study presented at the International Communication Association (ICA) there are a number of differences between iPad and Print books.
- Children understand less of the story when their parents read to them from an iPad compared to a pint book.
- Parents engage more in distraction talk about the book format or environment when they read to their child from an iPad.
- In contrast, parents use more evaluative comments and ask their child more question about the content when they read to them from a print book.
- Parents and caretaker should keep in mind that although reading from an iPad offers ease and convenience, children may understand less of the story when they are read to using an iPad.
Is there a difference in parent-child reading between print and iPad books?
70 2-to 5- year olds and a parent (mean age: 4 years); 51% boys; primarily European-American. Nearly all parents were female
All parents read two books to their child, one print book (i.e. paper format) and one electronic book (i.e. on an iPad) for approximately 10 minutes. In each reading session the parent-child interactions were videotaped. After each reading session the child’s story comprehension was measured by asking questions about information directly drawn from the story line (e.g., “At the end of the story who got bigger?”).
Facts and findings
- Children comprehended less of the story when they were read to from an iPad compared to a print book.
- An explanation for this finding is that the format of the iPad can be distracting for children and thus decrease their story comprehension.
- When parents read to their child from an iPad they engaged more in distraction talk about the book format (e.g., “Don’t touch the iPad”) or the environment (e.g., “Please don’t climb on me”) compared to when they read to their child from a print book.
- Parents used more evaluative comments (e.g., “This bunny is so cute”) when they read to their child from a print book compared to an iPad.
- Parents also asked their children more questions about the content when they read to their child from a print book compared to when they read from an iPad.