I’ve been pondering this question for some time now. I’ve read articles on both sides of the topic and am curious to see what others think.
I love gadgets. Even though I have this great love of gadgets, I’m not what you would consider an early adopter. I tend to wait, as evidenced by my slowness to jump on the ereader bandwagon. I love my ereader and am so glad that I finally made the leap. I’ve explored a few apps (Hello Words With Friends) and have downloaded a fair number of books. In the midst of exploring the possibilities that my ereader offers, I noticed something that has caused me to take a step back.
The number of apps and books targeted at children was astounding to me. I never really considered the ereader for use by children.(I’m thinking kiddos age 10 and under) After conducting a very informal facebook poll of my friends and family, it appears I’m in the minority.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve let my monkey get his hands on my kindle during extreme circumstances and it is a “very special treat” for him. I downloaded a kids paint app in which he colors pictures. I’m just not sure about having him actually read on it.
One of my fears is that allowing a young one to read on an ereader makes it more about the gadget than about the story and it will affect comprehension. Participants in my informal facebook poll stated that this wasn’t the case at all. It actually encouraged reading in some cases.
I just came across this post by The Digital Media Diet regarding the iPad and bedtime reading.* One of their points about the benefit of an ebook was that the book comes alive. From my perspective, this is the very reason to NOT let children read electronically. One of the main reasons for reading books is to encourage imagination and creativity. To me, this statement likens the ereading experience to television and removing the element of imagination altogether.
I can understand the plight of a busy parent. The desire to let the book read itself, to just sit back and enjoy that time and snuggle. At the end of the day sometimes I want nothing more than to just turn off my brain too.
There is something to be said for holding the book in your hands, for having the little one turn the pages back and forth, talking about what the words on the page mean. The experience of bedtime stories is about so much more than the story itself.
When I’m reading to my children, I’m passing along an enthusiasm for reading just as my parents did for me. I’m teaching them how to travel to another place without leaving home. I’m teaching them how to entertain themselves.
*They do ultimately state that this is just a tool to be used after considering your personal needs and the benefit is in how you use it.
What do you think about children and ereaders?
© 2012, Teresa. All rights reserved.