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Reading Digital Picture Books with Your Child

fatheranddaughterreadingWhen it comes to interactions with your child, reading is one of the best things you can do with them – whether you’re reading board books, picture books, or even a grocery list, this activity is important to their early literacy development.

The physical acts of sharing print books – including reading, touching, smelling, and even tasting – are all part of an important bonding experience that helps children develop a love for reading. Along with physically sharing books, the intellectual connections involved in sharing books are essential. When your child points to different pictures on the page, when a parent mimics animal sounds as compared to the animals in a book, or when a parent asks their child what will happen next in the story – these all are important interactions with books that your child needs for literacy growth.

Babies learn through touch and need more durable books, like board books, in order to explore reading. The Library offers a number of board books, and even Babybug Magazine, which are sturdier and geared towards our littlest listeners to share in interactions with books. As children grow older and learn how to use and take care of books, picture books become the norm. However, another viable option to share reading with your child is picture books in eBook format.

Today, screens take up large chunks of our time, but how do we dictate screen time for our children? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that children under two should have noeBooks for kids screen time (other than video-chatting), as children’s brains develop best through personal interactions. The AAP also recommends that children over 2 years of age should limit their screen time to no more than 1 hour per day of high-quality, educational content. With these suggestions in mind, limited eBook use is still a great option for you and your family. If you are sharing eBooks with your child and are using this as a bonding opportunity to point out pictures, talk about words, sing songs, or ask questions, this still creates a positive shared experience.

eBooks open up a whole new world of titles and ease for users. If you’re stuck at an appointment or at home, unable to get to the library, you can check out our online resources for picture books and, voila! — Instant entertainment at your child’s fingertips.

When using eBooks, some titles have “enhanced” options, which could include different noises or movements when you touch on pictures. These kinds of “enhanced” features may be entertaining for your child, but they don’t allow for the important interactions you would find when using print books and which are necessary for early literacy development. You and your child are better off using versions of eBooks without all of the bells and whistles of added movement and noise to keep the positive shared experience with your child.

If you’re interested in trying out digital picture books, we offer picture book selections through Hoopla, as well as through Tumblebook Library – all you need is your DPL library card! Picture books on Hoopla are simple and straightforward, just as a picture book in your hands would be. You’re allowed 10 checkouts per month on Hoopla, so all you need to do is borrow them on your computer or device, and you’re ready to go! Tumblebooks offers a variety of storybooks, read-alongs, eBooks, and nonfiction, and has a larger selection with narration and movement. Tumblebooks allows you and your child the option of reading the book on your own, or having a narrator read the story as you follow along. When viewing Tumblebooks, you will need an internet connection, as you don’t check these books out, but watch them from the Tumblebooks website. Both of these resources are great for sharing digital picture books with your child, if you choose to do so!

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