Toddlers' Word Learning and Transfer From Electronic and Print Books

J Exp Child Psychol. 2017 Apr;156:129-142. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2016.12.001. Epub 2017 Jan 6.


Transfer from symbolic media to the real world can be difficult for young children. A sample of 73 toddlers aged 17 to 23months were read either an electronic book displayed on a touchscreen device or a traditional print book in which a novel object was paired with a novel label. Toddlers in both conditions learned the label within the context of the book. However, only those who read the traditional format book generalized and transferred the label to other contexts. An older group of 28 toddlers aged 24 to 30months did generalize and transfer from the electronic book. Across ages, those children who primarily used screens to watch prerecorded video at home transferred less from the electronic book than those with more diverse home media experiences.

Keywords: E-books; Screen media; Symbolic development; Toddlers; Transfer; Word learning.

MeSH terms

  • Books*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Reading*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transfer, Psychology*