A new study from the University of Michigan just revealed that parents who intend to give their toddlers a boost in learning to read should prefer paper books rather than e-books. The main reason is that young kids are more likely to interact with adults when sharing a traditional book rather than looking at a screen.

As many as 98% of families with children under age 9 use a smartphone or a tablet, and toddlers spend on average more than two hours a day on electronic media. Not the best strategy since parents using digital devices ask fewer questions and talk less with their children while reading together.

The researchers found that parents talked more with their kids when reading from the real thing while children prone to emotional outbursts reacted better as well. According to Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, an associate professor of pediatrics, human development and family studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, "Children thrive from back-and-forth interactions with loving, responsive adults in their environment."

"Open-ended questions are rocket fuel for a child's developing brain", says for his part Dr. Brandi Freeman, a pediatrician and associate vice chair for diversity, equity and inclusion at Children's Hospital Colorado.

In summary, the University of Michigan study shows that kids pay less attention and respond less to what their parents are saying in front of a screen. Probably not the best method.

Picture: Alan & John (ChildUp.com)