The third and final presentation for Theme IV: Teaching with eBooks in the Classroom was presented by Susan Rvachew (with co-authors from the Digital Media Project Susan Rvachew, Kathrin Rees, Aparna Nadig, Elizabeth Carolan & Elizabeth Christe). This study was conducted in the context of a community reader program designed to support the oral language and emergent literacy skills of kindergarten children attending English-language schools in low-income neighborhoods in the Montreal region. The iReadWith books were developed by Tribal Nova in consultation with our research team to prompt the adult reader to use a dialogic reading style while sharing the book with the child. The books are also designed, via the linking of ‘living words’ with story congruent animations, to promote word recognition skills. A randomized within-student design was implemented to compare language and literacy outcomes after exposure to equivalent paper and iReadwith versions of two ‘Caillou’ stories in counterbalanced order. Stories were read three times in one week before outcome measures were administered. We did not find any disadvantage to the iReadwith book for story retell or story comprehension scores. We did find a significant advantage to iReadwith exposure for emergent literacy skills, and an interaction with the children’s letter knowledge skills such that children with the poorest letter knowledge skills showed the greatest advantage of exposure to the iReadwith books. Furthermore, analysis of the transcripts of reading interactions showed that adult comments and questions related to emergent literacy (i.e., print concepts, printed words, sound structure of words, and sound-letter correspondences) increased five times during iReadwith sharing in comparison to paper book sharing. When combined with the outcome of the studies described by Julia Parish-Morris, Mary Courage and Gabrielle Strouse, the conference findings in general confirm that children’s outcomes are determined by the intersection of ebook design and adult scaffolding during shared reading.
Conference abstract: We worked with Tribal Nova Inc. to develop ebooks that encourage a dialogic reading style by adults when sharing the book with a child and tested the efficacy of the books in the context of a community reader program for kindergarten children. Outcomes are described for story retell, story comprehension and emergent literacy skills as a function of the children’s letter knowledge at intake.
Conference handout: Rvachew DigLitMcGill Slide upload.
The final presentation in Theme IV: Learning to Read with Digital Media was presented by Iva Son (PhD Candidate at Lancaster University, UK, and Lecturer at Parsons School of Design, US). She described a small study in which children were engaged with a program designed to improve early literacy skills (i.e., alphabet knowledge, alliteration, rhyming) either at home or at school with different media: paper and pencil tasks, PC computer or tablet. In the PC computer and tablet conditions the children experienced a web application called Aniland. One of the points raised, almost incidentally, intrigued many conference participants: when children show a connection between their “online and offline lives” is this evidence of engagement and learning? We were quite taken with the photo of the child spontaneously drawing a beautiful picture of one of the characters that appears in the web application for teaching about letters!
Conference abstract: The present research investigated the effectiveness of preschoolers’ reading skills on a regular basis by using digital media compared to print media in both home and school settings.
Conference handout: ivason diglitmcgill slide upload.