Are All E-Books Created Equal?

Three_Little_Pigs-300x236 Some 54% of U.S. children aged 2 to 13 are reading e-books, according to a new study by Digital Book World.

Yet the jury is still out on whether it makes sense to use these interactive tools with young children, and if so, how to use them. What makes an optimal e-book experience?

Writing at Slate, Lisa Guernsey and Michael Levine say the e-books parents are downloading most often are not necessarily the ones that take advantage of technology to help kids learn to read and understand the story.

What do you think?

Welcome to our first in a series of “Quality Conversations” posts. This series is designed to facilitate discussions among parents, educators, and media creators about what constitutes “quality” in digital media for young children through age 8.

We begin with a discussion of enhanced digital e-books, and specifically Nosy Crow’s The Three Little Pigs, designed for the iPhone, iPad, or IPod Touch. Nosy Crow has generously agreed to let us feature their app, and YouTube user Jason Huber has agreed to let us feature his video review. The Fred Rogers Center does not endorse any specific products other than our own (read more on our About Us page). And we offer up this example for discussion purposes only.

The Fred Rogers Center has been part of several recent efforts to develop digital media guidelines for young children and to help define what we mean by “quality” for those children who are old enough to engage with new media tools. This series provides us with an opportunity to drill down to specifics about what quality means from different perspectives. Specifically, these posts are meant to inform the center’s Framework for Quality in Digital Media for Young Children (pdf).

Here’s where you come in!

You can participate by watching the video of a child and her parent playing Nosy Crow’s The Three Little Pigs below and rating it on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest quality and 5 being the highest quality. The principles of quality in the Framework provide guidance. Most importantly, tell us why you gave that rating in the comments, on the basis of your perspective as a parent, educator/researcher, or media maker. And be sure to identify which hat you’re wearing when you comment. We’ll report back on our findings.

Thanks for participating!

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