Effects of digital picture books on mental engagement in young children

Hanae Ikeshita-Yamazoe*, Sumire Kiyono, Takashi Kawai, Miyuki Kimura, Seiji Yoshida

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Reading picture books to young children is regarded as a promising method of fostering their emergent literacy. This study examined the advantages of digital picture books (e-books) and their short-term and immediate effects on young children compared with printed books. We used measures of prefrontal brain activity and heart rate variability as indicators of mental engagement and determined these measures during picture book readings to young children. We found that both biometry measures increased when an e-book was used and when the recorded voice of the reader was not that of the child's mother. These results suggest that (1) e-books do not affect children's physiological responses negatively, (2) e-books read by a voice unfamiliar to the child increase mental engagement, and (3) e-books are promising tools for developing emergent literacy skills in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3021-3026
Number of pages6
JournalICIC Express Letters
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Digital picture book
  • Emerent literacy
  • Heart rate variability
  • Near-infrared spectrosocpy
  • Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science


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