An examination of touch screen tablets and emergent literacy in Australian pre-school children
Young children interact with touch screen tablets at home and this may impact upon emergent literacy. The present study examined home access and use of touch screen tablets, as reported by parents, in Australian pre-schoolers (N=109) aged 3-5 years and whether this was associated with emergent literacy skills (letter name and sound, numeral identification, print concepts and name writing). Children with greater access to tablets were found to have higher letter sound and name writing skills. No relationships were found between time on tablets and emergent literacy skills. The quality of experiences rather than time spent on tablets may be important especially when viewed within a socio-cultural framework. Most parents (69%) reported that tablets were easy for their child to operate and believed tablets support early literacy development (70%). 53% believed children should have access to tablets at pre-school. Tablets have the potential to foster emergent literacy although this may depend upon the quality of digital interactions. (author abstract)
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