This page is all about eBooks: The news. The research. The stories. The resources.

(Initial content uploaded by K.A. Paciga, August 2012)
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What is an eBook? If you want to read about it you can download this article to read about it, or you can watch a video that tells you everything presented in the article.
(Thanks to Warren Buckleitner of Children's Technology Review for this!)

The news.

There is much controversy over the utility of eBooks in a child's development. As a matter of fact, many lead news sources have reported or commented. The following are organized chronologically:

The research.

There are decades of research on the effectiveness of eBooks in supporting young children's literacy development that date back to the first CD-ROM storybooks. A report by Zucker, Moody & McKenna (2009) synthesizes much of the research (55 primary source studies) prior to the publication date. Since then, the following research reports have been released.

  1. Joan Ganz Cooney Center has released a Quick Study Report comparing reading eBooks to paper books (May, 2012)
  2. Interactive Electronic Storybooks for Kindergartners to Promote Vocabulary Growth (Smeets & Bus, 2012)
  3. Open Access to Living Books on the Internet: A New Chance to Bridge the Linguistic Gap for At-Risk Preschoolers? (van Dijken, Bus & de Jong, 2011)
  4. A Formative Study of an E-Book Instructional Model in Early Literacy (Roskos, Burstein, You, Brueck, O'Brien, 2011)
  5. Low-income immigrant pupils learning vocabulary through digital picture storybooks (Verhallen & Bus, 2010)

The stories.

Here are some stories of the trials and tribulations of using eBooks with young children.

  1. There are some people out there who actually try this stuff out in classrooms or centers and then blog about it (note that many bloggers have a "blogs that I follow spot on their site;" these form little communities of practice that feed ideas and help sort out the hiccups you're bound to have). Here are some blogs that post significant content related to eBooks:
  2. There are programs focused on bringing eBooks (or devices that have potential to hold eBooks) into ECE.

The resources.

Fortunately, digital equates to lots of wonderful (and often free) eBook resources readily available with a few short keystrokes. Unfortunately, you often have to weed through the free stuff with a critical eye to find the ones that best meet your needs as a teacher or reader. Here's the skinny on some resources for eBooks:
  1. Your local library likely has a subscription to eBook libraries like Tumblebooks or BookFlix (by Scholastic). In addition, most public libraries also have many eBooks and devices available for check out. Talk to your local librarian for assistance.
  2. One More Story is another eBook library. This one has won accolades from School Library Journal.
  3. Kirkus Review reviews the most notable books being published and feeds their reviews to consumers in a weekly email newsletter and on KirkusReviews.com, giving readers unbiased, critical recommendations.
  4. Digital-Storytime publishes reviews of children's ebook apps and hosts a "daily deal" page. The authors team with Moms With Apps for a "Free App Friday." A great place to check regularly as you build your eBook resources.
  5. School Library Journall or the children's desk of your branch library for blog-formatted reviews of eBooks.
  6. Children's Technology Review
  7. Project Gutenberg is a donation-based volunteer-run organization that has digitized over 38,000 titles that were in-print originally. These titles are available to the public free of charge.
  8. Amazon, Google Play, and the iTunes Store are the default sources for apps and eBooks for your Kindle, Android, or iPad/iPhone devices. APPitic is a directory of apps for education by Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) to help you transform teaching and learning. These apps have been tested in a variety of different grade levels, instructional strategies and classroom settings.
  9. There's a whole host, too, of eBooks that are out there on regular old websites (some have been converted into apps too). Here are a few favorites:
    • International Children's Digital Library is a wonderful resource of multicultural and multilingual literature.
    • Storyline Online is a site where videos of actors and actresses reading books aloud are streamed. The videos capture the essence of a dramatic read aloud and the production includes captions and illustrations from the print version of each story read aloud.
    • Schoalstic Interactive Stories like these featuring Clifford are a great resource for ECE.
  10. Oh, and you can create eBooks too. Here are a few creative ways to do that:
    • Zooburst is a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone easily create 3-D pop-up books.
    • Tikatok (by Barnes & Noble) is an online platform where teachers, parents, and kids can write, illustrate, and publish online stories. The stories can also be printed and bound professionally for a fee.
    • Good old PowerPoint (or Keynote). Upload a bunch of photos. Type in your text. Narrate your slides. Save as a movie or PowerPoint show. Share (via YouTube or other social networking or blogging platform). Alternatively there are apps and websites dedicated to sharing digital texts...like StoryKit, ShowMe or VoiceThread.
  11. And then there are teacher-tips from reputable journals that also help you filter through this stuff.