The exciting world of digital books for children

The debate about screen time has left parents and teachers questioning whether children should be using screens to read. Do print books work better for kids as opposed to digital ones? Arguments that one is superior to the other simply shift the focus from the most important things about why, how, and what children are reading.

Why are books digital?

Digital books have a variety of advantages, like the ability to store a huge library of books on a single device or access the books online, which means that children can choose from a variety of choices while away from home or at school. Families that live separated can read through screen sharing between devices, and follow along as the reader tracks their progression on the digital page. Digital books can be purchased by themselves, but there are expanding libraries of online free stories, a lot of that are in languages that are not widely spoken. Through story-making applications like our Story and Book Creator youngsters can easily create their own stories and become story writers as young as.

Interactive features and multimedia

If children participate through digital literacy, the experience is more multisensorial and interactive than the time adults use their phones to check the news. Digital books that are interactive and apps can contain highlighted sentences and words as well as voiceovers from family members or authors as well as touchscreen options like zooming into the text or increasing the size of the characters in the story. To further the understanding of how digitalization of stories impacts children’s engagement with the story, I am currently developing a project that will enhance the senses of children’s smell when they go through digital books.

Digital books with too many improvements and interactive elements can make children overwhelmed and interfere in their understanding of the text. But features that assist readers progress throughout the book by interacting with characters and allowing them to speak, for instance aid in comprehension of reading. Therefore, designers must be cautious to choose the right amount of enhanced features to incorporate in books for children, and also to ensure that the features actually aid rather than hindering children’s learning. As their reading abilities improve, they begin to play with other elements like the size of the font and the arrangement of text on columns and pages.

“Features that help children advance through the story by touching characters to make them speak, for example, support reading comprehension.”

Is it important if children read a story about a lunar walk as well as an ABC book of scientific facts? The genre is a factor in the learning process of children. In the case of digital books, children are more likely to learn more vocabulary through non-fiction than from fiction. However, the age of the child makes an impact also. In a study, children aged five were able to absorb much more information from stories with an expository purpose to teach than from fairytale stories, while children aged three absorbed the similar quantity of knowledge from both kinds of tales.

Aiding vulnerable children and those with disabilities

If children read a printed book alongside an adult, they gain an engaging learning experience. Although digital books aren’t able to substitute for this shared experience however, a well-designed digital book can provide a suitable alternative in the event that no adult is in the vicinity to read alongside the children. Digital books can help children’s reading by providing “contingent” feedback, that is, by analyzing children’s gestures or responses to queries and their progression through the narrative. One study revealed that children were more able to remember stories while reading books that had the ability to provide feedback contingent on their actions than when they read books that did not have features that reacted to their participation. The contingent features appear to be especially beneficial for kids who find it difficult to focus during reading.

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