These days, with school in full swing and cool ‘big guy’ neighbors across the street and a travel soccer team to keep him busy, my boy isn’t that big a fan of reading.
He’s into Pokemon (ugh). He’s wicked smart on Words With Friends. And he spends a good amount of his free time thinking about how he can eke time out of his Screen Time Cards for Minecraft and AnimalJam.
Honestly, he’s one of the coolest kids I know. And lately, he just hasn’t been digging reading.
I get it. Often changes of schedules and shifts in season mean that my kids’ interests will ebb and flow, but Owen hasn’t deliberately reached for books for quite a few weeks.
It makes me a bit nervous, though, knowing that reading habits often change when kids hit middle school. A few short years, and he’s there.
One thing that’s helped a bit with Owen’s little reading ‘dry spell’ is giving him a chance to read books digitally. eBooks.
It’s one way we get our kids to read–and really enjoy reading. Kindle eBooks.
And I truly think that in this day and age, a healthy mix of digital and traditional books is quite the norm–or it really should be–if we want our kids to grow as readers in the digital age.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- Get Kids to Read–Kindle eBooks for Reluctant Readers:
Owen’s not the only one who is game for reading books on our Kindle.
Maddy and Cora love it, too, so we often have to resort to figuring out whose day it is so that there’s no major battle.
I think there’s something about the simple holding of the Kindle device that I think my kids love. They love how light it is, how sleek it is, and how easy it is to navigate.
For reluctant readers, especially, Kindle eBooks are great for:
- ease of use. Kids can find books in seconds.
- organization. My kids each have their own little collections.
- convenience. They can pick up where they last left off without worrying about finding a lost bookmark. They can touch the corner of a page, and the bookmark is there–even able to sync to Kindle apps on all of their devices.
- focus. Especially with chapter books, there’s not a whole lot of distracting fluff or add-ons in Kindle eBooks.
- quality. Kids can long touch a word, and its definition appears along with the Wikipedia definition and translation option. I like this feature.
Kindle eBooks are also great for:
- skill-building. Long touch a word, and kids can highlight or make notes about a word or passage. Upon finishing a book or chapter, they can look back at all of the notes they made and share them via email.
- increased comprehension. Many books have the option of adding professional narration to the text which helps emerging and struggling readers better understand what fluent reading should sound like.
- online safety. The Parental Controls on Kindles are super, and the Kindle FreeTime piece is a huge bonus. With Kindle FreeTime, I can assign a separate user for each of my kids, put books on their shelf, and make sure that when they’re in bed reading at night, that’s really what they’re doing.
- variety. I’m a huge fan of the Kindle Unlimited which gives you a ton of free books each month. For a small fee (cheaper if you’re a member of Amazon Prime), you can score a boatload of books for every member of the family. We’ve had it for a month now, and we’ve really been happy with it.
The bottom line is that kids need a balance. They need a healthy combination of print and digital books to keep them interested and keep them savvy with both mediums. But if a kid’s balking when it comes to reading and needs a kick-start, Kindle eBooks can do it.
As Junko Yokota and William H. Teale state, in their May 2014 article in The Reading Teacher:
Let us be clear from the start that we believe that both print and digital picture books should play central roles in early childhood literacy education. The issue
in this instance is not one versus the other, but what works well for achieving which ends in particular situations or for particular lessons.
Junko, Yokota & William H., Teale (2014). Picture Books and the Digital WorldEducators Making Informed Choices. The Reading Teeacher, 67(8), 577–585. doi: 10.1002/trtr.1262
The article goes on to explain how important it is to choose quality eBooks but how often the ‘extras’ –music, supplementary features, add-ons, etc.–upset the integrity of the story. It was an interesting read. Though my kids are now more reading chapter books on the Kindle and are past picture books on the devices, I did like what the authors had to say.
What’s your experience with Kindle eBooks? Have they been helpful in getting your kids reading and, more importantly, wanting to read?
Let me know–I’d love to hear it!
fyi: Staples sent our family a Kindle to help in the writing of this post, but as always, opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as an educator and parent. Visit Staples.com for more on the Kindle.
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