by Susan Rvachew, Ph.D., S-LP(C), School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, McGill University
Currently, experts don’t know whether animations help children learn from stories or not. For example, , Verhallen, Bus & de Jong (2006) reported that animated stories helped English-language learners retell stories; on the other hand, the children had a harder time retelling a story presented without animations. In contrast, Chiong, Ree, Taeuchi, & Erickson reported that enhanced ebooks interfered with children’s story comprehension.
It is hard to make sense of these research findings because we don’t know very much about animated story books. What exactly is an “enhanced ebook”? What elements in this kind of digital platform help or hinder a child’s story comprehension? What can parents or teachers do to help children learn more from animated story books? That is why we were pleased to find a research report in which the stated aim was to explore the question “What does children’s engagement with ebooks look like?” Our project has a similar goal except that Roskos, Burstein, & Byeong-Keun observed children in the classroom whereas we are specifically interested in parent-child interactions. We will be describing some of our findings in this and the next few blog posts.