Screen Vs. Page

I love the Dinosaur Vs. books. Bob Shea’s clever stories and illustrations even make Mo Willems green. There’s just something satisfying about turning the pages with a small child and listening to them giggle as Dinosaur tries to take down bedtime – or the potty or …

I tried reading picture books on an e-reader (color Nook, if you must know) and while it worked okay for my research on picture books, I found it less enjoyable than reading the hard copy books. Not to mention that, at the time, e-versions of new picture books were harder to come by.

So a recent article in the New York Times about reading picture books to small children using an e-reader definitely caught my eye. The article debates whether e-reading picture books counts as “story time” or “screen time.” The reporter points out that research doesn’t know yet – using e-readers to read to pre-literate children is still pretty new, though parents, pediatricians, teachers, and researchers would all love to know.

Several points make the case that using an e-reader in this way leans toward screen time rather than story time, especially with regard to comprehension and language acquisition. However, is e-reading really worse than say, the Baby Einstein videos that were all the rage a decade ago? (And were proven to be useless as anything other than electronic babysitting.)

My personal feeling is that there’s room for both types of reading – even with the very young. Reading a hardcopy picture book together is vital for language and reading development with pre-literate children. But if the child is going to be on the screen anyway? I’d much rather they be experiencing the richness of Mo Willem’s “Don’t Let the Pigeon Run this App!” or one of the many interactive picture books now available than simply playing the latest fad game.(Clash of Clans, anyone? And admit it, tablets and smartphones are INCREDIBLE devices to amuse kids while waiting in line. No hauling around a stack of board books.)

So, I’m on the fence myself. As long as e-reading doesn’t take the place of reading aloud with a lovely hardcopy book on your lap, I don’t see any harm. And a quote at the very end of the article puts it best: Small children LOVE going to the library and picking out their own books. Even more than playing with Mommy’s or Daddy’s iPad.

 

BONUS goodie: Call Me Ishmael

Has a book changed your life? (Of course.)  Do you want to share that experience with everyone? (Maybe.) Well, a new hotline can help you do that. Call  Me Ishmael wants you to call them at 774-325-0503 and leave them a voicemail “about a book you love and a story you’ve lived.” Ishmael then transcribes and shares at least one story every day during the week. Pretty cool!

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Screen Vs. Page

  1. THIS is sort of me: “As long as e-reading doesn’t take the place of reading aloud with a lovely hardcopy book on your lap, I don’t see any harm.

    And this is what I want to hear! 😀 : And a quote at the very end of the article puts it best: Small children LOVE going to the library and picking out their own books. Even more than playing with Mommy’s or Daddy’s iPad.”

    I’m truly not a big fan of electronic reading, even for myself. Yesterday I ran into one of my son’s grammar school teachers (she was my favorite and his ’cause she actually expected from her students) and we talked for over an hour in the vestibule at Boston Market. In that conversation she mentioned the pros of a Kindle. Though I totally prefer physical books, I could see her points with a few things, like looking up words or being able to instantaneously look up background information on certain books, etc. online. I sincerely have never had a problem looking up words in a dictionary (I do it online, also) so that’s not a biggie for me, and if I want background info, I can use my computer anyway.

    With kids, I will ALways prefer the physical version over electronic. I agree that if they’re going to be using it anyway (toddlers don’t have to), better a book than other stuff.

    1. The debate over e-reading still simmers, but both forms of reading are here to stay as a matter of personal preference. I find it interesting that a few studies have shown that children and young adults still prefer hard copy to e-readers, primarily because of the social status factor. No one can see what you’re reading on your Kindle or Nook or …

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