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Comparing electronic and paper storybooks for preschoolers: Attention, engagement, and recall

Preschool children's attention, engagement, and communication during readings from comparable electronic and paper storybooks, and their recall of story content were assessed. Seventy-nine preschoolers listened to one story on a tablet and another in paper format. The e-book contained multimedia and interactive features that activated story-related information. Dependent measures were attention to the book, the adult, and off-task; engagement and communication; recall of story content. Language and executive functioning were assessed. Results showed that (1) the e-book took twice as long to complete, (2) children were more attentive to, and engaged in the e-book, (3) children communicated more about the device during the e-book but more about the story during the paper book, (4) there was no difference in recall by format, (5) executive functioning was a stronger predictor of attention and story recall than was age. Results were discussed in relation to the cognitive theory of multimedia learning. (author abstract)
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