- Animation helps children read better
- Children who used digital book that has animated words recalled 60 percent of what they read
- Animated digital books are beneficial for children with less developed attention regulation
New research suggests that digital storybooks that animate upon a child’s vocalization provide beneficial learning opportunities to children.
Erik Thiessen, from Carnegie Mellon University, and colleagues conducted an experiment that involved story time with kids who were between 3 and 5 years old. The children were presented a traditional hardboard story book, a static digital book, or one with animations.
The researchers found that animation helps the children read better. The children who read a traditional paper book recalled 47 percent of what they read, but those who read the digital version of the books that have animated words recalled 60 percent of what they read.
The researchers also evaluated the recall of the children and found that those who used the animated book tended to remember up to 20 percent more. The children particularly experienced better recall for stories when they were able to exert active control on the animations.
Thiessen and colleagues said that animated digital books appear to be particularly beneficial for children with less developed attention regulation.
The findings come at a time when digital platforms like electronic books, smartphones, tablets and computers, have exploded in popularity, and there are concerns that children may be missing out on the key learning experience of shared book reading, which provides children the fundamental foundation for developing their reading and language skills.
Thiessen acknowledged that many digital interfaces are not well suited to children’s learning capacities, but if these are improved, children may likely be able to learn better.
“Children learn best when they are more involved in the learning process,” Thiessen said. “It is really important for children to shape their environment through their behavior to help them learn.”
The findings were published in the journal Developmental Psychology on Dec. 19.