Children Learn to Read Better with E-books

July 21, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. audiovisual /ˌɔ di oʊˈvɪʒ u əl/ (adj.) – referring to something that provides both sound and image
Example: The child likes movies better than books because movies are audiovisual.

2. sync /sɪŋk/ (n.) – the state in which two things happen at the same time
Example: The children read the story together out loud, but they were out of sync with one another.

3. character /ˈkærɪktər/ (n.) – a symbol that represents a letter or a word
Example: It is easier for the girl to write Japanese characters than to read them.

4. articulate /ɑrˈtɪk yəˌleɪt/ (v.) – to say something as clearly as possible
Example: The boy could not articulate the very long word.

5. partiality /ˌpɑr ʃiˈæl ɪ ti/ (n.) – the state of completely favoring one side to another
Example: The partiality for traditional books for teaching how to read is being questioned.


Read the text below.
A recent study claims that digitized reading materials can better develop a child’s reading ability.

According to professor Nobuo Masataka of Kyoto University who led the study, electronic devices and audiovisual enhancements help children recognize and recall words more effectively than traditionally printed books.

Thirty preschoolers participated in the study. They were asked to read the Japanese children’s book Tanabata Basu. Half of the participants were given a printed version of the book while the other half was exposed to an e-book version.

The e-book group used the digital version, which has a recorded narration that is in sync with a highlighting feature. The character or word in the text is automatically highlighted as it is articulated by the automated narrator. The other group used the printed version while listening to their mothers. Both groups were asked to read twice a day.

Prior to the experiment, all participants had the same level of reading speed and word identification. After a six-day trial period, however, the e-book group could identify 16.4 characters more than they did before, while the other group only had an average of 0.3 increase.

Despite the partiality of the study’s results for e-books, Masataka said the research did not consider analyzing the techniques of the mothers or the reading comprehension of the participants. However, it has been pointed out that the study’s findings suggest the effectiveness of e-books in teaching kids how to connect sounds with words.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you were to teach children how to read, what would be your technique?
·         Are you in favor of using e-book to teach children how to read? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Do you think e-books can completely replace printed books in the future? Why?
·         What do you prefer, reading printed books or e-books? Why?

July 21, 2014