Corinne Dabrowski recently tracked the reading habits of eight child-parent groups in a 12-week study of children ages 5 to 15 months at the University at Buffalo Early Childhood Research Center.
She asked parents to read two of the same stories – “Pat the Bunny” and “Peekaboo: Baby Touch” – both the “old-fashioned” way, with a print book, and on an iPad.
Here’s what she found:
• The print copy took an average of 3 minutes and 40 seconds for parent and child to get through. It took almost twice as long on a computer tablet, most likely because of the songs and other features available on the iPad app.
• Parents were much more animated reading print books. They played games, made noises like animals in the books, and played peek-a-boo. They let the iPad do the heavy lifting during that reading time, focusing most of their attention on moving their child’s hands to show them how to manipulate the touchscreen technology.
• On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being highest, parents collectively rated their experience reading a print book as a 5, and the iPad experience as a 3.4.
“Parents made comments like they preferred their baby to be able to tangibly experience the active reading of the print book,” Dabrowski said. “Feeling the pages, actually being able to turn the pages, being able to hold a print book.”