Kids and Reading: Widening Digital Opportunities

Check out the app!

Recently NPR reporter, Lynn Neary, broadcast a report, Children’s Book Apps: A New World of Learning.  You can also listen to the story.

In her March 28, 2011 radio report, Neary describes the increasing number of children’s books that are available as apps, useable on smart phones and especially on iPads. These applications make reading children’s books into a multimedia experience.

Some added features of these digital books include:

  • Words that highlight as the story is read.
  • Object words that are spelled when a child taps an image.
  • Activities that relate to the story.

While many parents and teachers love these apps, some experts believe that the reading process is dramatically changed by the addition of other features.  One expert, a professor at Kansas State University, suggests that we need a new word to describe the enhanced reading that takes place in the app storybook environment, but he is hesitant to label these interactions as pure reading.

However, a librarian at the New York Public Library, Elizabeth Bird, points out that when the publishers that get the design right,  “…take a book to a whole new level.”

Read the article. Also read, The iPad Meets the Children’s Book in Publisher’s Weekly and Bringing Children’s Books Alive at Wired Magazine’s GeekDad blog.

You might also enjoy reading a past post of mine about children’s books, Picture Books Help Children Understand Images, published several months ago.

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