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Study: Toddlers prefer print books over tablets

Many parents have a nightly routine for their little ones that involves a bed-time story.

Now, a recent study shows that when it comes to toddlers, nothing beats an old-fashioned print book for storytime.

Dr. Gregory P. Weaver, of Cleveland Clinic Children’s, did not take part in the study but said the results show the difference between old and new came down to the amount of interaction between parent and child.

“When the researchers observed children and parents interacting with a regular, soft-bound book, there was much more interaction between parents and children.” 

During the study, when parents read print books to children, researchers observed more question and answering than when the children were read to with an electronic book and more discussions beyond the story on the pages.

When toddlers were read stories on electronic books or tablets, the parent-child interaction was mostly about how to use the technology and not about the actual story.

Weaver said electronic devices tend to lead us to an isolated experience, with less interaction with others while watching the device.

He said reading print books to toddlers is one of the best ways to teach them important language skills.

And it’s not just looking at the words on the page and sounding them out, but the process of following the parents modeling how to speak and form the words.

Weaver said children learn by connecting different concepts together, and by physically reading a book, it promotes back and forth discussions, which are the cornerstones of learning.

He said one of the best things to do to promote learning for our children is to read out loud to them and show them that we love to read too.

“Children learn to read, and develop a love of reading, actually through the interaction with their loved ones, with their teachers and probably the most important teacher that’s in their life, which is their parent,” he said.

Complete results of the study can be found in Pediatrics.