eReaders for Children?

September 6, 2012

eReaders for childrenParents have long been concerned about the amount of time their children spend (and in their opinion waste) playing games on computers, smart phones, gameboys and other electronic devices.  The popularity of these devices also saw a big decrease in the amount of reading that children and teenagers did.  With 30 million Americans having “below basic”  literacy skills (National Assessment of Adult Literacy) getting people  reading is paramount.  However, with the popularity of eReaders and tablets, kids are now embracing reading more than they ever have in the last 10 years.  In fact with electronic books now outselling printed books, is it time that parents embraced eReaders in a bid to turn them off playing games and into readers?

Ebook readers with their various features such as eInk and color LCD touch screens, a large memory and easy to access programs allow users to download and store thousands of books.  Books can be quickly and easily downloaded with a host of extra information in each book.  These are just a few of the reasons for the explosion in popularity of readers.  Karen, began utilizing ebooks when she was 6 and is typical of kids her age, “It’s simply neat to read books on your Kindle” and Paul “It’s even more involving than reading a book” are some of the things children are saying about books on electronic devices.  Publications on iPads as well as some eReaders like the Kindle Touch or the Nexus 7 are fun and often consist of songs, animation and additional interactive elements that make them seem like playing an electronic game.

In “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes,” an ebook for kids from 3 to 7, it’s possible to easily transform the color scheme of Pete’s shoes by touching them, sing along to songs with the songs that roll along the webpage, listen to a narrator or record their voices as they sing out loud.

But is it more desirable than a printed publication?

Amid the enjoyment and interest, some individuals are suggesting a closer look, specifically for younger kids learning to read.  Julia Parish-Morris, a postdoctoral at the College of Pennsylvaniawho has investigated ebooks and how youngsters communicate with them. says, “We don’t have any proof that any type of kind of electronic tool is better than a parent.”

In an attempt to figure out whether parents must welcome electronic books with enthusiasm or ration eReader screen time as they do TV time, there’s a program, in Karen’s school which is participating in a research venture for the Hub for Proficiency at the College of Akron.  The project is set up to identify the very best method to incorporate ebooks into classrooms.  It belongs to a broader research of kindergartners with 2nd graders making use of an assortment of devices and also home computers.  She pointed out that gadgets like the iPad and Kindle were new and fun as well and provided children with an encouragement to read and helping those that may have been unwilling to in the past. “It’s a brand-new incentive to explore studying,” she claimed.

Jessica, 13, even makes use of an eReader, choosing electronic books over conventional publications due to the fact that they are much easier to check out.

Some parents  concerned that kids could be distracted by the animations and game like functions within ebooks. Sustaining a focus on the tale is necessary in developing articulacy talents, some point out.  One way this occurs spontaneously is with a back-and-forth conversation that occurs naturally between a parent and a child sharing a publication.  If you sit with your kid while you are reading, it makes it a much more interactive experience for the both of you.  With both of you viewing and interacting,  it means there is more for them to discover and learn.”

Cristy Ludrosky, a parent with a child, is a promoter of ebooks, although she does have concerns concerning the possibility for interruptions. “There’s this struggle there,” she stated. “Sometimes you consider it and also you are thinking, “Are they reading or learning to read or are they playing an application or an online game?”

At the end of the day whether you are reading an ebook or a physical book, especially if the child is quite young, say 8 or under it is always preferable to read along with them or just listen to them.  That way you are there to answer any questions or explain anything, plus it’s more fun.  This however isn’t always possible and with the features of most eReaders it is still possible for the child to look up words they don’t understand, find out other facts and histories of the characters as well as other information about the book from the eReader.  At the end of the day, there is no getting away from the fact that the reading of physical books especially by children is on the downturn while ebooks are on the upturn and that isn’t going to change.  The important thing is the reading itself and if an eReader can facilitate this and turn them into an avid reader then even if your child sometimes plays games on it (HINT: they can be deleted) it is well worth it.

 

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