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The interactive animated e-book as a word learning device for kindergartners

Electronic picture storybooks often include motion pictures, sounds, and background music instead of static pictures, and hotspots that label/define words when clicked on. The current study was designed to examine whether these additional elements aid word learning and story comprehension and whether effects accumulate making the animated e-book that also includes hotspots the most promising device. A sample group of 136 4- and 5-year-old kindergarten children were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: static e-books, animated e-books, interactive animated e-books, and a control group. In experimental conditions, four on-screen stories were each presented four times during a 4-week intervention period. Children in the control condition played nonliteracy related computer games during the same time. In all conditions, children worked independently with the computer programs. Strong treatment effects were found on target vocabulary originating from the story. Pupils gained most in vocabulary after reading interactive animated e-books, followed by (noninteractive) animated e-books and then static e-books. E-books including animations and interactivity were neither beneficial nor detrimental for story comprehension. Findings suggest that electronic storybooks are valuable additions in support of the classroom curriculum with interactive animated e-books being the best alternative. (author abstract)
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