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Are e-books and audiobooks as good as print books?

I'm the Parenting Editor at Common Sense Media, and I started blogging to help families navigate the complex world of media and technology in kids' lives. I'm a family-technology expert who specializes in approaching media literacy is...

3 things to know to find the right book format for your kid

There isn't a lot of research about the impact of e-reading on kids. In general, if your kids are reading — and not getting distracted by the highly interactive features some e-books have — then you should encourage them no matter which format they prefer.

Some useful guidance about how e-reading affects kids comes from a study by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center:

Three guides from the study:

  • If your goal is literacy-building, choose basic e-books and printed books.
  • To engage reluctant readers, choose enhanced books with multimedia features.
  • To help English-language learners, kids with special needs, and busy kids who don't have a lot of time, opt for audiobooks.

Reading is the one activity that's consistently cited as universally beneficial for all aspects of kids' lives. Providing a broad selection of both print and electronic books is probably the best route toward general literacy skills.

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