eBooks’ Interactive Features Are Not Always Helpful for Reading Comprehension

children app ebook comprehensionResearch from Heather Ruetschlin Schugar and Jordan T. Schugar of West Chester University are pointing to troublesome features of eBooks – mainly that they provide too much stimulation without enough reading compression.

While some books such as Miss Spider’s Tea Party, provide positive reinforcing stimulants, such as the sound of tea drinking- others, like Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really Big Adventure,  simply distract children with gimmicky features of moving objects and disconnected sounds.

The findings were presented at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia. The preliminary findings are further supported by a paper from the Schugars and Carol A. Smith. Published in The Reading Teacher journal, the paper discusses the need to further examine eBooks in context of reading comprehension for very young readers, who may be too distracted by digital gimmicks to focus on the written word.

The Schugars advise parents and teachers to select eBooks that offer rich enhancements to texts, rather than gimmicky distractions. Further, reading eBooks should be emphasized rather than ‘read-to-me’ features which may take away from students’ ability to read and focus on texts. They offer the following list of recommended readings for young readers:

For beginning readers

“Blue Hat, Green Hat” by Sandra Boynton

“Go, Clifford, Go!” by Norman Bridwell

“Meet Biscuit” by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

“Nickelby Swift, Kitten Catastrophe” by Ben Hecht

“Miss Spider’s Tea Party” by David Kirk

“A Fine Musician” by Lucy Thomson

For fluent readers

“Slice of Bread Goes to the Beach” by Glenn Melenhorst

“Who Would Win? Killer Whale Vs. Great White Shark” by Jerry Pallotta

“Wild About Books” by Judy Sierra

“The Artifacts” by Lynley Stace and Dan Hare