What were your favorite books as a child? Chances are, those same titles would earn bored yawns from many kids today. According to The Atlantic, some teachers and children’s publishers are experimenting with digital enhancements to hold the interest of elementary-school readers.
The term “reader” may not be entirely accurate. The Atlantic noted that some of these e-books are heavy on multimedia and light on text; some are actually interactive apps. Yet parents and their children are responding positively to them, while teachers and librarians report they’re having a hard time holding their classes’ attention with all-text books, no matter how popular the titles once were.
If children get used to multimedia entertainment in their reading books in grade school, they may expect the same when they get to college. In fact, they may not even be able to effectively study pages of text without digital enhancements. Two researchers at West Chester University “found that students tend to spend more time reading enhanced books, but that they often comprehend less of the material,” said The Atlantic article.
In some cases, publishers are putting digital extras into e-books just because they can—audio of noises in the story, for instance—and not to help young readers understand the book’s themes or learn new vocabulary. In others, though, the digital books and apps were intentionally created to be used in conjunction with print books as a means to extend the reading experience.