The world of children’s digital books is quickly becoming as densely populated as the rest of the app world, if not more so. And why shouldn’t it? People who love to tell and publish stories to children will obviously go to where children are consuming their media to tell them stories. Increasingly, one of those places is in digital environments.
Digital books on touch screens work because touch screens have been designed to meet the fine motor skill development of a child aged two. The same skills a child development professional will look for in a child’s development around two years of age like the ability to point and touch, the ability to roll a ball (swipe) and the ability to pincher grip are the key fine motor skills required to engage with a touch screen. We should not be amazed at young children engaging with the iPad because the user interface has been designed to meet their level of development. We should expect that they can use it. (We should also expect them to be obsessed with the home button — but that is another article).
Digital books don’t come in all shapes and sizes. Mostly they are in one shape and size and it is the same as the screen of your mobile device. But, increasingly there is a growing diversity in what these digital books look like, how they are read and what this might mean for children’s learning. Reading on a digital device is no longer just about language and literacy; some apps are able to teach a range of contemporary literacies that extend to visual literacy (just like picture books) and on to ideas like network literacy (how to find information on the network) and engaging in play-based learning through digital books.
So, this article is an attempt to explore some of the possible categories and how these different types of digital books can be used to engage our children in narrative and learning ...