Objectives: Previous research has documented less dialogic interaction between parents and preschoolers during electronic-book reading versus print. Parent-toddler interactions around commercially available tablet-based books have not been described. We examined parent-toddler verbal and nonverbal interactions when reading electronic versus print books.
Methods: We conducted a videotaped, laboratory-based, counterbalanced study of 37 parent-toddler dyads reading on 3 book formats (enhanced electronic [sound effects and/or animation], basic electronic, and print). We coded verbalizations in 10-second intervals for parents (dialogic, nondialogic, text reading, format related, negative format-related directives, and off task) and children (book related, negative, and off task). Shared positive affect and collaborative book reading were coded on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 = high). Proc Genmod and Proc Mixed analyzed within-subjects variance by book format.
Results: Parents showed significantly more dialogic (print 11.9; enhanced 6.2 [P < .001]; basic 8.3 [P < .001]), text-reading (print 14.3; enhanced 10.6 [P = .003]; basic 14.4 [P < .001]), off-task (print 2.3; enhanced 1.3 [P = .007]), and total (29.5; enhanced 28.1 [P = .003]; basic 29.3 [P = .005]) verbalizations with print books and fewer format-related verbalizations (print 1.9; enhanced 10.0 [P < .001]; basic 8.3 [P < .001]). Toddlers showed more book-related verbalizations (print 15.0; enhanced 11.5 [P < .001]; basic 12.5 [P = .005]), total verbalizations (print 18.8; enhanced 13.8 [P < .001]; basic 15.3 [P < .001]), and higher collaboration scores (print 3.1; enhanced 2.7 [P = .004]; basic 2.8 [P = .02]) with print-book reading.
Conclusions: Parents and toddlers verbalized less with electronic books, and collaboration was lower. Future studies should examine specific aspects of tablet-book design that support parent-child interaction. Pediatricians may wish to continue promoting shared reading of print books, particularly for toddlers and younger children. (Author abstract)