On-screen children’s stories: The good, the bad and the ugly

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Based on the available empirical evidence, it was investigated in the present dissertation which features of electronic storybooks are beneficial for young children's language and literacy development. In a meta-analysis interactive features like 'hotspots' and games were found to distract children from the story. Switching between listening to a story and playing with interactive elements requires multitasking and might be too demanding for young children's cognitive capacities. In contrast, multimedia elements like animation, background music and sound effects that illustrate the abstract language of narrative stories were found to facilitate children's comprehension of the story and word learning. For instance, motion in animated illustrations were found to attract children's attention to the part of the picture that is relevant to the oral narration and thus facilitate story comprehension. Guidelines for developers, parents and teachers are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universiteit Leiden
  • Bus, Adriana G., Supervisor, External person
  • Voogt, J. M., Supervisor, External person
Award date22 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2015


  • storybook reading
  • multimedia
  • interactivity
  • language development
  • emergent literacy
  • vocabulary


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