Reading with new technologies: How do CD-ROM storybooks affect young children's attitudes towards reading?

Year: 1994

Author: Wild, Martyn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Reading effectively is important in a child's overall long-term achievement in education and in everyday life. Often the inability to read results in a negative reading attitude, which further inhibits the process of learning to read. This paper describes a research project to investigate the effect of CD-ROM storybooks, a relatively new technology, on young children's attitudes towards reading. The research study, of an experimental design, directly compared the effects of traditional paper media and interactive multimedia (CD-ROM storybooks) on the attitudes of Year 3 children towards reading. Findings indicate that the CD-ROM storybooks do positively influence children's attitudes towards reading for reluctant readers, but not willing readers. It is suggested that CD-ROM storybooks provide an effective reading strategy for some children.

CD-ROM storybooks are interactive storybooks that offer a number of facilities to enhance the reading process; they operate at various levels. At the simplest level, the child can read the story themselves using the computer screen as a book page, or have the story read to them by the computer in a human voice. Each word is highlighted on the screen as it is read. At a more advanced level, children can interact with the storybook in ways not possible with books of a traditional print media. "This new kind of book without pages allows readers to put themselves inside the story and interact with the character and the landscape, to hear sounds and speech, and see animation" (Anderson, 1992:65).