Study says Toddlers Engage More With Print Books Than Screens
Here's a surprise!
Reading to your child may be more effective if you turn actual pages, rather than swiping a screen.
A University of Michigan study, published today in the journal Pediatrics, suggests that toddlers interact more with their parents when they read print books compared to the electronic versions, according to Dr. Leila Haghighat with the ABC News Medical Unit.
"The print book is really the gold standard in eliciting positive interactions between parents and their children," Dr. Tiffany Munzer told ABC News. She is a fellow in development behavioral pediatrics at U-of-M's C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Munzer and her colleagues studied 37 pairs of parents and their toddlers. Each pair was videotaped in a lab reading three different stories from the Little Critter series back-to-back, with a five minute reading time limit.
There were three book formats in total: an electronic tablet with enhanced visual and sound effects, an electronic tablet without enhanced effects, and a print book with illustrations.
Parents had the most engagement with their toddlers in storytelling when they read print books, the researchers observed. Toddlers, too, made more statements with print books, and non-verbal signs of bonding were greater when print books were read.
When the parents read e-books, they made more statements about how to use the tablet; for instance, how to swipe to the next page or where to push a button.
So why do print books work better for toddlers than e-books?
Dr. Munzer feels the answer lies in the distractions built into e-books, like buttons to press, and the automated replacement of the variety of sounds and explanations that parents would otherwise provide themselves.