Your child 5-11 years

Paper book, digital book, what's the difference for my child?

Paper book, digital book, what's the difference for my child?


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This is the question we asked Marie-Josèphe Rançon speech therapist and readability consultant with Bayard Jeunesse. His answers in 7 points.

  • 1. It is no longer a matter of opposing the paper book and the digital book, both exist and everyone can bring something. These two media create different reading experiences, this is not without consequence especially when learning to read.
  • 2. The reading in a "paper book" ensures a linearity: the child sees where is the beginning of the story, turns the pages to advance in the history, perceives that it advances in the story to arrive then at the last page. When he reads on a tablet, the elements are mobile. The text and the image arrive and go back on the screen, it is the child who builds his way in the story.
  • 3. The attention and the memorization of the child which are necessary to follow the progression of the story are facilitated by the "fixity" of the paper: the words, the illustrations, do not move. The child knows he can come back by turning the pages. Too many solicitations through the channel of sound or visual animations or games parallel to the narrative divert attention to a project other than the project of reading. A novice reader or even at ease in his learning can be disturbed.
  • 4. For a digital book as for a paper book, it is important to choose reading according to the age of the child, his tastes and desires, but also his attention, memorization, of reflection, of imagination.
  • 5. For children with learning difficulties, reading on a tablet can open new horizons. The child feeling less judged on his reading skills, will be more in search of pleasure.
  • 6. The role of the parents with the child remains the same with a digital book or a paper book. When the child is very small, the parent is a "super narrator": the little child thinks that his father or mother is part of the story and that the story is made for him alone. When the child grows up, the parent becomes a smuggler: he helps the child to position himself well to unfold the thread of the story. Either he tells, or he reads the written text, or he comments: he proposes to the child a situation of joint attention - according to the expression of the psychoanalyst Jacques Lévine. He is also there to accompany the child when there are misunderstandings to lift or when the emotion overflows.
  • 7. After reading, on tablet or paper, a time of parent-child exchange is very nourishing. It is not an interrogation but a conversation so that the child can verbalize his thoughts, his emotions, his reflections, on the characters, on the history of the book but also on life!

Interviewed by Odile Amblard