The advantages and disadvantages of digital books to children’s emergent literacy.

Assignment type: Essay
Author: Lawrence Taylor
Submitted: November 2019

The UK public and schools are spending millions of pounds on digital books every year. Touch screen devices and reading apps that host digital books might have been adopted by families without the parents necessarily considering the functional efficacy. This is potentially detrimental to children’s development of emergent literacy; especially considering that children who are in this stage are more vulnerable to possible negative features of digital books, compared to children who are proficient readers. Shared reading of digital books within parent-child dyads, has shown associations with: greater story content being recalled by children, increased operational and vocabulary-related discourse, but reduced dialogic reading when compared to print books. Some digital books now come with an array of multimedia and interactive features with varying effects on emergent literacy. The review of the literature highlighted that multimedia features that are congruent to the story carried additive benefits for children compared to digital books more broadly. Interactive features, however, are not currently associated with any benefits so should be excluded from digital books designed to foster emergent literacy. Due to the attention and engagement interactive features can afford, future research should aim to find beneficial interactive features.

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