Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

“A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover.

Adult reader versus e-book voiceover

In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching children about biological camouflage.

Overall, preschoolers learned about camouflage from both books. But, when researchers divided the four-year-olds into two groups – one group with children of higher than average vocabulary level, and one group of children with average and lower English vocabularies – they found that the children with average and lower English vocabularies showed poorer comprehension when the book read itself.

Interaction is key

Dr. Patricia Ganea, Associate Professor of early cognitive development at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at OISE, says the results highlight that young children are best supported in their learning when they are in interaction with others, especially parents or other caregivers.

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