Digital books

Digital books for early years and primary school aged children

Join the community

Join the Special Interest Group “Children’s digital books and literacy apps”, convened by United Kingdom Literacy Association:

Case studies

We invite case studies including video and audio. Please contact or contact the UKLA community mentioned below.

Current UK curriculum

Teachers can choose to integrate digital books within their existing practice. For instance, digital books can be used as part of guided reading sessions, group reading sessions or 1-2-1 reading experiences. Here, the ‘read to me’ feature is especially helpful for children to hear the story read to them. Interactive features of the book such as highlighted new words, hyperlinks clarifying new vocabulary are useful teaching tools.


Add-on activity

Digital books which do not lend themselves to curriculum activities can be used as part of free choice activities. For example, digital books which support creativity, encourage children’s own creation of stories or explore the digital narrative with several game elements are useful to encourage children’s motivation and participation in the reading activity.  Teachers need to be aware of possible gender differences and different levels of digital literacy among children.



Evidence on the positive impact and effects of digital books is only emerging. We have endeavoured to list within the relevant text references which you will find most helpful when considering this MESHGuide.

We welcome research engagement to develop the evidence base for practice. Contact


Editors' comments

Clearly this is an area where more research is needed on fine grained issues related to the impact of digital books on learning and motivation and joining the UKLA community is an important way to get engaged and see also

Transferability - T2 rating **

The editors give this Guide a T2 rating - more research is needed in different contexts to strengthen the evidence base for practice.

Translational Research- levels used for MESHGuides

With thanks to Professor James O’Meara, President International Council on Education for Teaching (

—T1 - Local findings that translate no wider than the setting investigated

—T2 - Local findings that translate to comparable settings in the same/similar region(s)

Strength of Evidence

The MESHGuide provided here draws on many years research in this area. More research is now needed to determine the impact of specific characteristics of digital books and how they influence the different contexts of reading.


Areas for future research

Research which would employ mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) and which would study in detail specific features of digital books (eg interactivity, audio features, personalisation) is needed.


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