A recent meta-analysis found that children ages 1 to 8 were less likely to understand picture books if they read the ebook version instead of the print version, but only when the ebook didn't have effective enhancements. For the analysis, researchers examined more than 39 studies involving more than 1,800 children. Though generally print picture books outperformed their digital counterparts in terms of reader comprehension, if the ebooks contained enhancements that reinforced story content not only did the print advantage go away but students learned more. Adults’ mediation during print books’ reading was more effective than the enhancements in digital books read by children independently. However, with story-congruent enhancements, digital books outperformed paper books. An embedded dictionary had no or negative effect on children’s story comprehension but positively affected children’s vocabulary learning.
Furenes, M., Kucirkova, Review of Educational Research.