Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A new report find that kids prefer ebooks on print books - should parents encourage that?

I just saw an update on eBookNewser about a new report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop that found that kids prefer to eBooks to print books.

"The Center observed 24 families with children ages 3-6 for this “QuickStudy” in the summer and fall of 2011. The kids were given both print and eBooks to read and according to the research children preferred reading an eBook to a print book though comprehension was equal."

The sample group used by the center was relatively small - only 24 families, but if you have kids in this age you would probably a similar conclusion. Yet, at least from my personal experience, these findings would probably be more accurate looking 5 or more years ahead. Many kids kids right now still enjoy and prefer print books, but they will probably switch in some point in the near future to e-books because they grow up with so much exposure to digital formats and its easier for them to do it compared to older generations.

One thing I'm not sure I understand is the following quote from the original report on Digital Book World - “If we can encourage kids to engage in books through an iPad, that’s a win already,” said Carly Shuler, senior consultant for industry studies at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. Why do we need to encourage kids to engage in books through an iPad and not through print book? They'll have enough time when they grow older to engage with digital formats, but in the meantime they could lose some valuable lessons from converting too early to ebooks.

I'd just like to quote Junko Yokota, a professor and director of the Center for Teaching Through Children’s Books at National Louis University in Chicago, who explained on the New York Times last November what is lost by taking a picture book and converting it to an e-book. She said that the shape and size of the book are often part of the reading experience. For example, wider pages might be used to convey broad landscapes, or a taller format might be chosen for stories about skyscrapers. "Size and shape “become part of the emotional experience, the intellectual experience. There’s a lot you can’t standardize and stick into an electronic format,” she said.

What do you think? What does your kid prefer? Are you happy with his or her choice? Drop us a comment and join the discussion.

Image credit: Tundra Books, Flickr Creative Commons

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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