SRCD 2019 Biennial Conference
March 21-23, 2019
Title: The Added Challenge of eBook Reading: Exploring Young Children’s Page Turning Behaviors
Session: Connecting Development to Mobile Preschool App Design and Use
Authors: Ying Xu, Joanna C. Yau, Stephanie Reich
Abstract: Electronic books (e-Books) with audio narration are often touted as enabling pre-literate children to read independently. Indeed, this is the most common way children utilized e-Books in the U.S. (Vaala & Takeuchi, 2012). However, young children may have trouble in navigating eBooks as their concept of print and fine-motor skills are still developing. Compared to print-books, eBooks lack the book-like tangibility and thus may pose additional challenge to book navigation. This experiment examined the impact of reading format on children’s page turning behaviors.
One-hundred and seventy-seven children aged 3-5 were assigned to be read either a print book by an adult (n = 86) or an eBook with audio narration (n = 91). In both conditions, children were instructed to turn pages when the narration finished. The videotaped reading sessions were coded for page-turning timing, including disruptive (i.e., turning before narration ends) and delayed turning (i.e., being inattentive for over one-minute after the narration ends), and page-turning motion (i.e. difficulty in turning to the next page). Kruskal–Wallis test suggested that, compared to the print-book group, (i) children reading an eBook more frequently turned page both disruptively (χ2(1) = 8.28, p < 0.01) and with delay (χ2(1) = 11.31, p < 0.001); and (ii) children reading an eBook showed more instances of incorrect motion (χ2(1) = 27.95, p < 0.001). Subsequent analyses were conducted to test whether the negative effects of eBooks on page-turning timing and motion depended on children’s age and tablet usage.
We found that eBooks interfered younger children’s decision on page-turning timing more so than older ones (F = 7.01, p < 0.01 for disruptive page-turning; F = 3.20, p < 0.1 for delayed page turning). In addition, children lacking prior technology experiences had more difficulty in using the correct motion if reading an eBook, compared to their more experienced peers (F = 3.77, p < 0.05). We also investigated the effects of age and prior tablet/print reading experiences on page-turning behaviors within each group. Overall, different patterns of age and prior experience effects were found between children reading eBooks versus print-books. In the eBook group, compared to older children, younger children had more instances of disruptive (χ2(2) = 11.82, p < 0.01) and delayed turning behaviors (χ2(2) = 23.01, p < 0.001). Lack of tablet experiences increased the instances of incorrect motion (χ2(3) = 10.80, p < 0.01). By contrast, in the print-book group, age and prior print exposure did not affect children’s page-turning behaviors.
The study suggests that screen-based reading imposes additional cost on children’s navigation of the book. The learning curve to navigate an eBook appears to be steeper than that for print-books. As children use an eBook, page-turning timing appears to be a developmental issue while the turning motion is related to experiences