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Touch Screen Tablets and Emergent Literacy

Abstract

The use of touch screen tablets by young children is increasing in the home and in early childhood settings. The simple tactile interface and finger-based operating features of tablets may facilitate preschoolers’ use of tablet application software and support their educational development in domains such as literacy. This article reviews current findings on using touch screen tablets in supporting early literacy development within a theoretical framework. The evidence suggests that tablets have the potential to enhance children’s emergent literacy skills (e.g., alphabet knowledge, print concepts, and emergent writing). However, the optimal use of tablets for early literacy learning may be dependent upon the type of scaffolding used by parent or teacher and the availability and quality of literacy tablet applications. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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Correspondence to Michelle M. Neumann.

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Neumann, M.M., Neumann, D.L. Touch Screen Tablets and Emergent Literacy. Early Childhood Educ J 42, 231–239 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-013-0608-3

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Keywords

  • Emergent literacy
  • Touch screen tablets
  • Apps
  • Preschoolers
  • Scaffolding