IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Personalised stories

Supporting early language development and interest in reading with digital personalised books.

adapted from iPad dream, by Lance Shields

This project investigated the benefits and limitations of personalisation in children's digital products, with a specific focus on personalised books.

The project ran from January 2017 until December 2018 and was funded by ESRC and hosted by IOE.

What is personalisation in children's books?

Personalisation is a broad umbrella term for several features, behaviours, patterns or characteristics. Objects and experiences can be personalised for children or they can be personalised by a particular child.

Personalisation is different from customisation, which involves adjustment to a given content or template.

" One of the key differences between digital and printed books is that digital books are customisable and increasingly personalisable. Children's digital books can be customised in terms of their display (e.g. an image can be made bigger or font enlarged) or they can be personalised in terms of their multimodal content. With several story apps, children can insert their own voice-overs or 'selfies' into their favourite story. Clearly, children are likely to be more motivated to engage with books which feature them or a caregiver's voiceover rather than a pre-recorded automated voice. Yet, is personalisation in children's books more than a motivational tactic?
About the project

This project explored how mobile digital technology can be developed and used to support young children's language learning and early interest in reading. More specifically, it investigated the effects of enhancing the child's reading experience through the use of digital personalised books, and considers effective strategies for supporting children's early reading with digital technology at home and in Early Years education.

Read more about the project overview and planned impact:

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