Researchers have long argued the importance of shared book reading and its potential impact on future reading growth. With the increasing popularity of e-books and the introduction of interactive iPad books, more and more parents are sharing books with their children in digital format. This may have a direct impact on the nature of the interactions that occur during young children's early book sharing experiences. This multiple-case study examined the nature of the interactions between six mother-child dyads as they read a story on an iPad compared with the interactions that happened during a traditional book reading. A coding system was developed to categorize behaviors during the reading sessions. The categories included (a) meaning talk, (b) text and print talk, (c) technology talk, and (d) the nature of the affective climate.The results of this study indicate that mother-child traditional read-alouds and digital iPad read-alouds are different experiences. During digital readings there was an increase in the number of vocabulary-related (a subcategory of meaning) interactions but a decrease in the number of interactions related to text and print. The results also showed that as the dyad shared a digital storybook, they engaged in many interactions about the technological elements of the iPad texts, which may be important to the development of digital literacies in young children. The findings also indicate that a child is more engaged with digital texts than with traditional texts, which is important because engagement is an essential component in literacy development. However, sometimes the child's increased engagement with the digital texts resulted in both members of the dyad being less sensitive to the other. Digital storybook reading is a relatively new experience for many parents and thus, they may not know how to interact with their children in ways that promote the development of traditional and digital literacies.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Inquiry, Measurement, and Evaluation



Date Submitted


Document Type





electronic books, family literacy, shared storybook reading, mother-child interactions, digital literacies, emergent literacy