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Why You Can Use The iPad Guilt Free This Summer and How It Can Benefit Your Child

e-books homer ipad learning


For years, we have been admonished for letting our children have screen time.  Every time I, for one, took out the iPad for the children, I felt a pang of guilt.  Well, no more! New studies are proving there are iPad applications that can help advance your child’s future academic success.

Why Reading Independently This Summer Is Critical

The most important thing you can do this summer with your children to improve your child’s academic success is reading and practicing writing skills at home.  A new study from Harvard researched 4000 students and their summer holiday activities, specifically “how various summer activities, such as attending camp, reading and talking about math at home, vacations and daytrips, and summer school, have distinct academic effects.”  

The findings? “Reading independently, as well as reading and writing with parents, were stronger predictors of summer reading learning than attending summer camp or visiting novel places.”

use the ipad guilt free this summer

E-books V. Print Books: The Scientific Findings

Looking at these findings in our electronic age where we can read across different mediums, some questions come to light.  So does this reading need to be done only with print books? Or can electronic books be used to fulfill the “reading independently” activity?

In one study that compared print books to electronic books, researches “found that the toddlers who were read the electronic books paid more attention, made themselves more available for story time, participated more in the process, and commented more about the content than toddlers who were read the print versions of the books.”  

In addition, the children who read the electronic books learned new words better than those who read print books. The reason that the children learned more with electronic books is not proven, but one hypothesis is that “increased amount of attention children paid to these particular electronic books may have resulted in increased learning.”

benefits of e-books

In another study, researchers analyzed how children comprehend the content of print books versus electronic books. Did children comprehend the story better when read in one medium over the other? No. “The researchers found no significant differences across medium. Children comprehended equally well regardless of whether the story was read aloud or in digital form.”

The co-author of this study, Susan Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt, said of her research "It's possible that when it comes to books, we have overestimated the means of delivery and have underestimated the importance of the content conveyed in the media. Although certainly not a substitute for parent-child interactive reading, digital stories from quality media sources may represent an important source of learning for young children."

Why E-book Quality Matters

Like with print books, it is important to note that not all electronic books can be good for your child. With print books, a study demonstrated that lift the flap books were seen as toys by children and were not teaching reading skills.  Similarly, in electronic formats books can have features that make them toys in children’s eyes too.  For example, buttons or games built into the electronic book. The co-authors of the first study I mentioned, Gabrielle Strouse of School of Education at the University of South Dakota and Patricia Ganea of Language and Learning Lab at the University of Toronto make note that we should be using good quality electronic books with our children because "experiences activating built-in features that act as entertainment may heighten any tendencies children have to interpret electronic media as games rather than learning tools."

quality of e-books

Where To Find Quality E-Books and An App That Teaches Reading (Science Proves It)

So where can you find these e-books for children that are not full of toy-like distractions? I love an app called Speakaboos and its parent company, Homer, has a wonderful learn to read app.  In a blind study on Homer, students demonstrated that the app increased their ability of alphabetic sounds by 74% and also significantly increased students' print knowledge too.  

"These results indicate that Learn with Homer significantly improved children’s school readiness skills. This study indicated measurable effects for children’s growth in phonological awareness and in developing an understanding of the speech-to-print connections in early literacy development. Children in the treatment group exceeded those in the control condition in three areas in particular: print knowledge, phonological awareness, and letter sounds." 

I have reached out to them and they are offering our readers 3 months free (a $40 value!) - and that covers summer!  You can access your exclusive offer by clicking on this link here now.  My five year old is loving it.  He enjoys progressing through the lessons and the mix of teaching methods, including learning sounds during the lessons, reading poetry and books, and the cool draw program that he gets to do when he completes a lesson, makes the program fun and interesting to him.  Moreover, he also loves collecting the pickles he receives when he completes the lessons!  To this end, I am loving using the iPad guilt free this summer and I hope you can too with your free Homer trial.  

Happy E-reading!


Allie, Founder, The Parenting Journal

More About Homer

Homer is the leader in children’s literacy, helping children ages 2 to 8 master literacy skills and discover their passions and interests through reading.


  • Homer’s proven pedagogy teaches children how to read in an interactive environment that supports their unique interests, sparks their imaginations, and fosters a love of reading.
  • Just 15 minutes a day is shown to increase early reading scores by 74%.

  • Includes 100s of lessons, stories and games.

Designed to teach a child to find passions through reading, Homer can be enjoyed on computers, tablets, or mobile devices. Homer is available for download via iTunes and

Download Homer today and help us get more children reading.

More About The Parenting Journal

You don't have time to read all the latest scientific studies on childhood development? Of course, not. You are a busy parent.  That's why we are here.

We research the loads of scientific studies published daily on childhood development.  We share actionable parenting advice based on these findings.  

It's easy. It's free. Join the hundreds of parents who already read us each weekday and become an even better parent this week.  

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