Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Preschoolers can learn words and story content from traditional print books, but there has been no direct comparison of their learning from print and e-books while controlling for narration style. Additionally, very little empirical work has utilized a tablet e-book as the majority of research has examined learning from computer e-books. The current project examined how 4-year-olds (N = 100) learned words and story content from four different book reading contexts: a print book read aloud by a live adult, a print book narrated by an audio device, a tablet e-book read aloud by a live adult, or a tablet e-book narrated by an audio device. Children's prior experience with tablet e-books and their attention to the book were also measured and included in analyses. When prior experience was included, preschoolers learned more words from the e-book than the print book but only for those without prior experience reading tablet e-books with someone. Furthermore, regardless of experience, children learned more words in the audio narration conditions than in the live reader conditions. When attention was included, preschoolers who were more attentive learned more words than those who were less attentive but only for those who were read a print book by a live adult. Notably, there was a trend for preschoolers to learn more story content from the live reader than an audio device regardless of book type. Our results are consistent with theories of emergent literacy in the digital world, which are situated in a sociocultural perspective.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.