Reading in the digital age

Lessons learned and future opportunities

Authored by: Rebecca A. Dore , Jennifer M. Zosh , Brenna Hassinger-Das , Roberta Michnick Golinkoff , Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek

The Routledge International Handbook of Learning with Technology in Early Childhood

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138308169
eBook ISBN: 9781315143040
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter describes important “lessons learned” over the past decade in research on lab-based studies of children’s e-book reading. Our first lesson notes that research needs to keep up with the rapidly changing pace of technology. Second, we highlight the challenge of creating generalizable findings, given the many types of e-book features available. Our third lesson speaks to the context for the reading interaction, including what happens before the child steps into the lab. Lesson four focuses on the need for innovative methods for quantifying language, behavioral/emotional engagement, and caregiver-child interaction. Finally, our fifth lesson relates to the use of measures to help capture multiple facets of learning. Although we describe the challenges in lab-based e-book studies, we also note the valuable insights gleaned from the existing literature and highlight exciting opportunities for future research. E-books have great potential for education in today’s tech-focused childhood. Researchers studying these issues have the opportunity to collaborate to create generalizable and useful knowledge about how parents and children interact with and learn from e-books.

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