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A Comparison of Children’s Books: Picture books versus physically and intellectually adaptive interactive children’s books

Children’s book design has a great impact on shared reading practices, interaction and engagement. This study aimed to analyse a comparison of children’s picture books versus children’s interactive, adaptive picture books, in order to discover how physical and intellectual enhancements change the level and types of interaction within a shared reading environment. In turn, the study aimed to provide design solutions for designing effective children’s books in the future. The study was undertaken by designing a picture book with an age appropriate narrative and illustrations. The same storyline and design assets were then teamed with physical and intellectual enhancements to create the interactive, adaptive version of the book. The books were designed using a combination of currently accepted frameworks of a ‘successful children’s book’, as well as educational practices that align with the New Zealand Curriculum. Seven families with children aged 4-6 were observed utilising these books in three shared reading sessions over a number of weeks, and their interactions were analysed and compared. The results were compared to findings from numerous other researchers whose work centers around effective children’s books, shared reading, and adaption of children’s books. In addition, by comparing the findings to a background study, many comparisons and common themes could be found between the interactive, adaptive book designed for the study, and interactive books currently on the market. Conclusions drawn from the study show that the basic principles of an effective children’s book need to be implemented by all designers in order to ensure engagement and interaction. These include standards of illustration, appropriate text and storyline, moral of story and relation to the child and the real world. In turn, the inclusion of physical and intellectual enhancements within the book promote a greater level of interaction and engagement from the parent and child. However, this is only the case if the enhancements provide meaningful interaction, and have a relevance to the story. The inclusion of adaptive features within a children’s book - particularly the addition of a ‘goal’ - provides the highest level of interaction from children, prompting higher engagement levels and hence allowing the shared reading session to be more successful and educationally beneficial. This thesis provides designers with frameworks to enable the successful design of interactive, adaptive children’s books.
Type of thesis
Wright, K. (2015). A Comparison of Children’s Books: Picture books versus physically and intellectually adaptive interactive children’s books (Thesis, Master of Media and Creative Technologies (MMCT)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9621
University of Waikato
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