Shared reading experiences between parents and children are very important for children’s social, emotional and cognitive development. During shared reading, children learn about language and reading while talking about books with adult guidance. Now, more and more books are replaced by electronic gadgets that we call “digital media”. In fact, many children’s books have been adapted to digital media such as computers and digital tablets. Additionally, digital literacy refers to the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate and create information using such digital technology.
Faculty and students in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at McGill University, are focused on interactive and participative reading on the iPad, including interactive story books and tools that help children tell their own stories. This project is concerned with understanding the social, cognitive and literacy implications of e-books implemented on digital tablets when used by children and adults in a shared reading context.
Our observations will help us to develop guidelines for software developers so that they can create better digital media for children. Moreover, our observations will help us to advise parents and teachers on the most effective strategies for using digital media with children. In summary, the project will result in e-books that are better adapted to the needs of diverse users to promote foundational literacy skills and transferable digital competencies by children and adults.