• Print versus eBooks

    Why are free books important?

    • Early literacy research shows the ratio of books to children in a low-income neighbourhood is 23 times higher than in a middle-income neighbourhood
    • Public libraries are not enough: Families under stress may have difficulty getting to the library, returning books on time and paying fines.
    • In a 2013 evaluation of Booktime, a literacy program in England that distributes free books to 4 and 5 year olds, respondents reported increased children’s enjoyment of reading (66 %) and increased frequency of shared reading at home (50 %). (Weaving)
    • Middletown Ohio Community Foundation found that kindergarten students receiving free books from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program scored 15 percent higher on kindergarten literacy tests than the average score by students who were not participating in the program (Dolly’s Imagination Library)

    Why is owning a book important?

    • Children who own a book are more likely to read at or above the expected reading level for their grade.
    • Owning as few as 20 books in the home has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education.

    Why are print books important?

    • Ebooks are rising in popularity and are a great tool to share reading with a child.
    • eBooks can be particularly useful for children with a disability, particularly children who are hearing or sight impaired. In these cases, research shows that using a simple eBook without many interactive elements is best.
    • There is emerging data on the use of digital books (or eBooks) by infants and toddlers in general: while it shows that toddlers can learn words from using touchscreens, it also shows that they may have trouble transferring this knowledge to the 3-dimensional world, and that in some cases, they become a merely passive “viewer” when engaging with an eBook.
    • eBooks often have interactive elements that may further distract caregiver or child, and prevent a child from fully understanding the content or participating in the shared reading experience with a caregiver. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that if families use eBooks, that a caregiver co-view with children in order to help them understand what they are seeing and put it in the context of their daily lives.
    • Research supports the idea that the making reading interactive between caregiver and child is crucial, regardless of the format of a book (by directing the child’s attention, praising their efforts, putting a story or image in context, pointing out letters, words and shapes). These interactions happen less often when sharing an eBook with a child.

    Why do you only give away books for children up to 12 years old?

    • Early literacy is a key factor in children’s school readiness.
    • Strong reading skills are the foundation for learning in all subjects
    • Interventions to support reading for pleasure at an early age have the biggest impact on later habits
    • It is important to assist children who struggle with early literacy, and who may later struggle with reading, as early as possible.
    • Supporting family literacy when children are young sets children up for success!

    Given the above, we believe that Twice Upon a Time reaches children who may not otherwise have an opportunity to discover reading.


    Clark, Christina and Lizzie Poulton. Book ownership and its relation to reading enjoyment, attitudes, behaviour and attainment: Some findings from the National Literacy Trust first annual survey. London: National Literacy Trust, 2011. Web. 4 Jan 2014. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED521658.pdf

    Media and Young Minds.” Pediatrics, vol. 138, no. 5, 2016, pp. e20162591–e20162591.

    Neuman, Susan B., and Celano, Donna. “Access To Print in Low-Income and Middle-Income Communities: An Ecological Study of Four Neighborhoods.” Reading Research Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 1, 2001, pp. 8–26.

    Ridzi, Frank, et al. “The Imagination Library Program and Kindergarten Readiness.” Journal of Applied Social Science, vol. 11, no. 1, 2017, pp. 11–24.

    Wauters, Loes, and Evelien Dirks. “Interactive Reading with Young Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children in EBooks Versus Print Books.” The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, vol. 22, no. 2, 2017, pp. 243–252.

    Willoughby, et al. “Do ABC EBooks Boost Engagement and Learning in Preschoolers? An Experimental Study Comparing EBooks with Paper ABC and Storybook Controls.” Computers &Amp; Education, vol. 82, 2015, pp. 107–117.

    Wray, David, and Medwell, Jane. “Exploring a National Book-Gifting Scheme: Parents’ and Children’s Reactions.” Education 3-13, vol. 43, no. 2, 2015, pp. 209–13, 2015, Vol.43(2), p.209–222.

Comments are closed.