How eBooks Can Help Young Readers

Chevy Chase Library

How eBooks Can Help Young Readers

"Arrival of portable full color touch screen devices is game-changing technology."  

You can sit on a sofa with a young child and experience a digital version of cozy co-reading.  eBooks are not brand new.  As early as 1997, Living Books published some titles such as Stellaluna, a baby bat named after the stars and moon. 

TumbleBook Library
DC Public Libraries offers access to TumbleBooks and

Scholastics' Book Flix
Scholastics' BookFLIX. 

TumbleBooks offer animated talking picture books. BookFLIX pairs children's video story books with factual eBooks for pre-schoolers, kindergarteners and beginning readers.  Games and puzzles reinforce early reading skills.  A parent can read to the child or the book can be "read" to the child online.

When using both electronic and print material for young readers, remember that early readers need to learn how to touch and care for a book and see the printed language on a page.  An adult can guide the usage of eBooks by providing the content beforehand by introducing and discussing vocabulary and predicting outcomes.  

Research shows that the printed book format is still considered the most important piece for learning to read; the electronic version offers enhancement and creates reading models of fluency of language. Technology supports children's emergent literacy development, especially for struggling readers.

Young children who would not ordinarily be able to read a book on their own can be helped to explore text individually. Digital scaffolds are also available in e-storybooks to assist beginning readers who are learning to decode (McKenna et al, 1999). Theories of reading development recommend scaffolding to promote literacy outcome.  Studies suggest that reading e-storybooks supplement traditional printed read alouds and classroom reading experiences.

You can find both TumbleBooks and BookFLIX under the "Research" tab on the homepage, then click "Databases," and then the "Children" link under "Subject Listings." You can also find TumbleBooks and BookFLIX by going directly to the Online Research for Children, Parents and Teachers page.