Digital books for early years and primary school aged children

Dr Natalia Kucirkova | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

What should teachers know about digital books?

Many UK schools have begun to use iPads, Google Chromebooks and other portable touchscreens in lessons, giving children more opportunities to access digital books and storyapps. Accessing an interactive digital book is a different experience from clicking through an e-book on the desktop PC and many teachers, especially those in primary schools, are legitimately questioning the value of using interactive digital books in their literacy lessons.  The current evidence (see References) says that:

  • Digital books with interactive features such as games and hotspots (areas in the digital text or image which act as hyperlinks, activated by tapping on the screen) have been found to impede children’s story comprehension and vocabulary learning.
  • Children are attracted to and motivated to read those digital books which are fun and personalisable. This may support children’s overall interest in reading.
  • Unlike paper-based books, digital books can be customised to children's reading abilities and preferences (e.g., font can be enlarged and format adjusted). They represent stories multimodally (that is through embedded audio-recordings, images and texts), which provides children with more entry points to the world of stories.