Tuesday, December 18, 2012

EReaders for Kids: Just Another Screen?

As a parent I’m constantly in the midst of the “battle of the screens” with my children. They want to be on them more, and I’m struggling to steer them toward non-screen activities. Unfortunately I can’t say that modeling the behavior is one of my strategies as the very nature of my work has me staring at screens most of the day. However, I want my children to grow up as I did, learning and growing using a little bit of independence and imagination. Not comatose, glassy eyed, and with the only thing moving being their thumbs. I know many parents who feel the same and have opted out of purchasing screened devices this Christmas. While I agree that parent should take a stand, not only monitoring but cutting back on such usage, there is one device I think needs an exemption: The eReader.

First, anything that gets kids reading more is a plus. And let’s face it, some kids view physical books in a negative light. Just the sight of a book puts some kids off. Personally, I love paperbacks and though I have a Kindle I still love to hold a book once in a while. But kids want to hold what’s cool. eReaders are cool. They’re compact, light-weight, easy to use, and the battery lasts a long time.

eReaders can also save parents money on purchasing books. You can find tons of free books, low-cost books, and discounted books. There is always something to read when you have an eReader.

Now, for the best part. eReaders can help your kids with reading 

comprehension. Have you ever had a child ask you what a word meant while they were reading? And you, trying to be the ultimate parent, may have said, “Go look it up.” Yeah, right. I’m sure that’s just what they did. I’ve been in education many years and can tell you that students will skip right over a word they don’t know simply because it’s too hard or too much work to figure it out. The other day, my daughter was reading on the Kindle Fire. I looked over and saw her touch upon the word “frail.” A small window popped up with the definition. She read it and continued on with her story. As easy as a simple touch on a word and your child can get the meaning of a word as long as it’s in the dictionary. You can also click to go to another page with a longer explanation of the word.

Many of the latest eReaders have much more than just books. If you’re concerned your child won’t use it for reading you can set up parental controls for downloading. Have them start out with books and earn their way to games and apps. I suggest cutting back on other devices and make room for an eReader. Getting one that everyone can share would make a great gift for the entire family.

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!


  1. Even though my teenage guys don't read...gasp...they all have an Ipad because they love to do all the apps and music. It's been a lifesaver on long drives!

  2. My 9 yr old asked for an ereader for Christmas - and she's getting a Kobo.

  3. My 8-year-old has wanted an ereaders since last year when I got one. She's not getting one for Christmas; however, I share my Nook Color and she will probably take over control of it once I open my Nexus 7 on Christmas morning ;-P

    She and I read on the Nook every single night before she goes to bed. We lie down in her bed with the lights out and she relaxes and settles in while I read aloud to her. Once we hit a stopping point or she actually gets tired, we stop!

    1. Marla: I love your confidence about your Christmas present. Hope you get it.