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Are e-readers encouraging children to read more?

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Showing 1-25 of 48 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 18, 2012 9:09:17 AM PDT
I used to belong to a Children's Book Forum (sadly no longer functioning) that consisted of teachers, parents, school librarians, a publisher's rep, and authors. We would discuss ways to encourage children to read and what type of stories would appeal to them, especially the reluctant teenage reader (this was pre Harry Potter!). I'm wondering if the advent of the e-reader has changed the way children read and made it 'cool' to read fiction.
Are parents buying young children their own e-readers?

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 9:57:18 AM PDT
G. says:
I bought my 7 year old one for Christmas (she was 6 at the time) because she loves to read, and was always taking my kindle to use for her reading. I don't think it has INCREASED the amount she reads, but she seems to appreciate the portability of it (she still reads DTBs). And interestingly enough, once she got her OWN kindle, she wasn't nearly as enamored with it as she was with "Mom's"; other people's stuff is always much "cooler".

Posted on May 18, 2012 10:54:22 AM PDT
LOL. The grass is always greener.
I think it must be very useful to have a Kindle when going on holiday - no more bag of books to cart with you, and a new book readily available if you're camping in the woods (provided you can get reception!) The only problem would be - no 'colouring in' books.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 10:56:48 AM PDT
G. says:
The no color books aren't quite as important to her in the first grade. For the picture books for my younger kids we use the Kindle Fire which is color and has a back-lit screen. I am telling you, after getting my first kindle in 2009, I have not been able to read a regular paperbook; the convenience and ease just really won me over.

Posted on May 18, 2012 11:01:44 AM PDT
I haven't got a Kindle yet (Father Christmas obviously didn't get my note - will have to have a word with his elves) but I have a box of paperbacks and hardcovers to get through. However, the hardcovers are a bit of a strain, and having to keep angling the book to the light makes me think how convenient it must be to have a Kindle. They must also be easier for children to hold. Some children's books can be quite unwieldy.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 11:04:29 AM PDT
G. says:
I have an older generation kindle, but my daughter's is very small and light and yes, perfect for her little hands. I hope you get one soon :).

Posted on May 18, 2012 11:26:32 AM PDT
i think kindle also has the ability to help those kids struggling with reading, because you can increase the font size, so that they have less to process on the page as they are reading

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 11:46:28 AM PDT
G. says:
That is a GREAT point! My daughter reads it in bed with her booklight, and ergonomically, it is much more pleasant then a regular DTB + booklight.

Posted on May 18, 2012 11:47:18 AM PDT
I like the idea of a built-in dictionary for children. I have a dictionary on my computer and find it a boon as it has a built-in voice feature so you can hear the correct pronunciation. Does the Kindle also have that feature?

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 11:49:21 AM PDT
G. says:
Unfortunately, no...well at least on the kindles we have (K2, KK, and Fire). That would be a useful feature. Darn it, now I do wish there were one, I think my daughter would really benefit from that.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 1:17:23 PM PDT
Wayward says:
It's also much less intimidating. My dd is a high level reader, and for awhile we struggled with getting her to read challenging books b/c although she was interested, often the text was small and/or the book looked too thick. She was still focusing on mostly picture books when her sister was given an ereader (not kindle) and she dove right into Alice In Wonderland.
One challenge we have with e books is denoting age appropriate literature. Not that books should be restricted by ages, but many 7 year olds who are high level readers just don't have the savvy to understand some YA fiction, and aren't mature enough to 'get' the concepts that are age appropriate for tweens and teens. While I can easily skim several pages and flip to the end to help determine the content appropriateness of a traditional book, the ereader process is more time consuming especially in 'knock off' ereaders. A book my 9 year old wanted to read that was about dogs and looked benign revealed a really graphic sex scene and some emotional details that would be way above her head. But on first look, jacket cover and the first few pages seemed fine. It was just in scanning the book that an inappropriate phrase caught my eye; in an e book I might have missed that.

Posted on May 18, 2012 7:11:37 PM PDT
My DD is not a very enthusiastic reader. At all. By any stretch of the imagination. We've gotten her caught up to her age/grade reading level now, but her reading comprehension was extremely poor before. Some of the books we ended up using to get her WANTING to read, I don't think would've been as beneficial on an ereader. (Shel Silverstein, for example, or Tommy Dipola)(<--I totally butchered his last name).

I have quite a few kids books on my kindle but she would rather read a physical book (and the physical book do take abuse a lot better!). Now when I was her age (3rd grade), I would've LOVED an ereader. So it really depends on the kid as well.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 7:35:13 PM PDT
I think the kindle does actually have a built in dictionary, I don't think it's kid specific though (Merriam Webster or Oxford, one of the two.) I know my Kindle Touch does, all I have to do is highlight a word and it'll give me the definition.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 8:38:39 PM PDT
Ms. P. says:
All Kindles do have the built-in dictionary, but not a feature where it will pronounce the word correctly for you. (Which would be a FANTASTIC feature for kids).

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 11:03:59 PM PDT
That would be a great feature for ME too. I can't tell you how many words, even now, I'm not sure how to say correctly after reading them a certain way in my head.

As for the OP I can only give an anecdotal response, but about the time my youngest started using my old Kindle (now he has his own) his reading has really taken off. My oldest as well, though he now prefers the Kindle app on his iTouch. Most of the time his eyes are glued to that thing he is actually reading a book. Both are still happy to pick up paper books too.


In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2012 12:56:15 AM PDT
Dire Weevil says:
I am not sure, however I am starting to see more kids with them. I work at a school and around December I began seeing a few students with Kindle Fires. This is an Elementary school, BTW. From January till now, I began seeing a few more kids with fires but also the Nook devices as well. I would say maybe 15 kids. The positive thing is, when I see the kids using them they are reading, not playing with apps. This is during lunch time, mostly.

Posted on May 19, 2012 5:56:39 AM PDT
Thanks for your responses.
It looks like another handy feature would be to scan for inappropriate content for children (and some adults who don't want to read erotica). Perhaps Amazon could ask authors to tick a box/boxes if their book contains swear words or scenes of a sexual or graphic nature. These books would automatically be flagged the same as films are. They can block films on a TV so I can't see why they couldn't do that on a Kindle.

Do you think we should petition Mr Bezos for a talking dictionary and a censor control on the Kindles? LOL

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2012 4:20:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2012 4:21:50 PM PDT
oooOOoo, THAT kind of dictionary.
Ya know, that would a fantastic feature FOR ME! :) So many time growing up I would read a word constantly but not hear it and not have great consequences using it. Ever call an elderly person w/a broken foot "invalid"? They don't get happy! :)

*ed- to add ""

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2012 4:24:54 PM PDT
Actually that might work with a third-party app, actually. Kinda like they have tv sensors to limit showings. The issue with that is that some self-pubs might not want to appropriately label their stuff.

Or maybe just said up a side account for a seperate wifi-only kindle and only link a prepaid card to it (with no funds) and don't save the wifi access codes. Then you could mostly control what's being downloaded (a lot of money/hassle later)

Posted on May 19, 2012 10:36:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2012 10:38:34 PM PDT
N. Kirk says:
My youngest child (10 now) got a kindle last year because he is an avid reader, I am not good with libraries and it is so much cheaper to buy ebooks than paper books. For him it has been perfect, he already loved to read but he has read so many more books since getting the kindle, the challenge now is to find new books/series suitable for him because he is a fast reader and works his way through them quickly, which is how I came across this thread. He has just finished the pendragon adventure series and now I need to find something else. HOwever if the kids are not big readers (like my three older kids) then I don't know that having a kindle would work in the long term to get them to read more. It didn't tempt my older kids at any rate.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 4:43:09 AM PDT
G. says:
Has he read the lemony snicket series:A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning? It is for age 9 and up.

Actually, looking at the Pendragon series (400+ pages) that he just read, he may zip through this much shorter series pretty quickly (I think the books tend to be under 200 pages).

Posted on May 22, 2012 10:29:47 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 22, 2012 10:31:10 AM PDT
I've responded to this question several times, but not here. My son (now 12) was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 & he is a very slow processor. He is not a fluent reader and he's a very auditory learner. One thing that has really helped him to increase the age level of books that he is capable of reading is using text to speech in conjunction with reading. He will use headphones, turn on the TTS & read a book that is at or above his grade level and very much connect to the story & he will remember small details that he just misses when he only reads the book.

He is presently reading Brandon Mull's The Candy Shop War, which he is loving. This is a 400 page book that he would simply not be able to independently read without the tts to keep his attention focused. It is very disappointing to me as a parent when the publisher doesn't enable TTS on their books. It also means that I don't buy their book for my son.

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2012 11:02:51 AM PDT
G. says:
That was a smart idea Ms. Mayhem. Does the SOUND of the TTS voice (robotic) bother him in any way or did he just kind of accept the fact that it sounded kind of tinny? Good to hear that have the two together seem to reinforce reading comprehension. I never thought of using it that way.

Posted on May 22, 2012 11:16:24 AM PDT
So pleased that the e-reader has helped your son. I didn't realise that the publisher has to enable TTS. Does it say on the book page whether it is TTS enabled?l

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2012 11:16:37 AM PDT
Oasis says:
If he hasn't read it already, I recommend the Percy Jackson series. It's one of those series that can be loved at any age. It does have a lot of focus on Greek mythology, but it explains everything quite well, so even if he hasn't been taught Greek mythology in school yet he'd still be able to follow it.

The main series is complete, and starts with The Lightning Thief, followed by Sea of Monsters, the Titans's Curse, Battle of the Labyrinth, and finishes with The Last Olympian.

Then there's the sequel series, Heroes of Olympus which is currently going and planned to have five books as well. The first one is The Lost Hero, followed by Son of Neptune. The third, Mark of Athena, will be released in the Fall.
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Discussion in:  Children's Books forum
Participants:  21
Total posts:  48
Initial post:  May 18, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 6, 2012

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