From Douglas Quenqua at the New York Times
. . .
For years, child development experts have advised parents to read to their children early and often, citing studies showing its linguistic, verbal and social benefits. In June, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised doctors to remind parents at every visit that they should read to their children from birth, prescribing books as enthusiastically as vaccines and vegetables.
On the other hand, the academy strongly recommends no screen time for children under 2, and less than two hours a day for older children.
At a time when reading increasingly means swiping pages on a device, and app stores are bursting with reading programs and learning games aimed at infants and preschoolers, which bit of guidance should parents heed?
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Part of the problem is the newness of the devices. Tablets and e-readers have not been in widespread use long enough for the sorts of extended studies that will reveal their effects on learning.
Dr. Pamela High, the pediatrician who wrote the June policy for the pediatrics group, said electronic books were intentionally not addressed. “We tried to do a strongly evidence-based policy statement on the issue of reading starting at a very young age,” she said. “And there isn’t any data, really, on e-books.”
But a handful of new studies suggest that reading to a child from an electronic device undercuts the dynamic that drives language development.
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Of course, e-book publishers and app developers point to interactivity as an educational advantage, not a distraction. Many of those bells and whistles — Clifford’s bark, the sleepy narration of “Goodnight Moon,” the appearance of the word “ham” when a child taps the ham in the Green Eggs and Ham app — help the child pick up language, they say.
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Read the full article at the New York Times
The criticisms in the article seem to be directed at enhanced e-books of the sort that feature animation, narration, and extras. Neither the author nor the experts he quotes seems to know that there is such a thing as electronic books for children that function pretty much like paper books.
Welcoming-a-returning-PG vacation guest post by Bridget McKenna