Print vs Digital Books: New Study Helps Teachers Decide

With the influx of technology being pushed into the classroom, it’s a critical time to take a step back and figure out which type of tech is right for you. As the school year winds down, you may be debating a move to a flipped classroom or perhaps adding some e-readers / tablets into the mix.

Let’s say you’ve decided to buy a single iPad or (lucky you) a classroom full of iPads… what kind of books should you be using? Should highly visual and interactive books be used? What about simple e-books that are just text?

If you’re a textbook author or someone who wants to use iBooks Author, then these questions are even more important.

Lucky for you, a new study has just been released that sheds some light on which kind of book is right for you and your students. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center has released a ‘QuickStudy’ that analyzed how 3-6-year-old children use and retain information from different kinds of books. They tested printed books, e-books, and enhanced e-books. They had the children read the different kinds of books and then tested their retention, interactivity, and co-reading experience.

Key Takeaways

  • The Cooney Center recommends that parents and preschool teachers choose print or basic e-books (rather than enhanced e-books) if they want to deliver the best literacy-building experiences.
  • They found that the interactive features of the more visually engaging enhanced e-book actually distracted both adults and children alike, making it tough for both to recall key points of what they just read. There is a silver lining to enhanced e-books though: they may prompt less motivated readers to pick up this type of book rather than none at all.
  • Children who read enhanced e-books recalled fewer details than children who read the other types of books.
  • As expected, enhanced e-books were more engaging and interactive but print and basic e-books did a better job at literacy building.

Download The Study

To find out details about the study such as how it was conducted, other takeaways, etc., check out this page.