Presenter: Beatrice Kug, Poster Presentation
Research Title: Understanding Preschool Children's Reading Engagement with Interactive eBooks
Faculty Advisor: Stephanie Reich
Mentor: Ying Xu
Interactive electronic books (eBooks) have become one popular source of reading for preschool-aged children. To date, most of the research conducted on eBooks has focused on reading outcomes, while relatively few studies have explored children’s reading processes. To shed light on children’s interactions with digitized reading, this study examined the differences in reading engagement behaviors displayed by three age groups when reading from either an eBook or a print variant of the same story. In this project, 156 preschool children (aged three to five) were randomly assigned to an eBook or print book group where they were read the story by an eBook “Read-to-Me” feature or by a trained researcher. All sessions were recorded and coded in ten-second intervals across three behavioral dimensions: emotional engagement, attention, and participation. The results indicate significant differences between the two reading formats for emotional engagement and participation, with the print book engendering more positive nonverbal expressions than the eBook (p < .05) and the eBook eliciting more format-related conversations than the print book (p < .05). Moreover, the effects of the eBook on emotional engagement and participation differ across the age groups. These findings suggest that reading from an eBook or a print book influences how preschool-aged children read, not just what they understand. Altogether, parents and educators should consider age and reading format use to ensure the most enriching and appropriate reading experiences for their children.