Friday, June 17, 2011
E-readers for kids
The girls have bookcases full, specially made bed pockets full, and still more books are overflowing into bags!
The books they have are read, re-read, sorted, and very well loved.
I remember when I was a kid, my brother and I would, every now and again, pile all our books up in a big heap on the floor and take turns picking books - so that we had a different selection of books to read in our room.
Some of my favourite books were kept for years by my parents in their loft in England,and then brought out in their suitcases to Australia where we now live - for our kids - their grandchildren.
Seeing and reading these books from my childhood again (some of which have come from Scotland from Euan's childhood too) has been a wonderful trip down memory lane for both of us. It's quite sad for us in way that our girls are now reading some of these books on their own - so we're missing out on the stories again! - Although we still continue to read books to them at night before bed, and I'm sure we will for some time!
We do not have an e-reader ourselves. I was brought up with the philosophy and the attitude that you don't generally buy things you don't need. (Of course I do buy non-necessities but always find myself considering them lots before purchasing).
Since we have so many books, are always getting more from various book sales, school fetes and of course the library; what need would we have for an e-reader?
What first made me think of it, was seeing how daunting it is for a new reader to see a big thick book that they would like to read, but the sheer size of the book puts them off. If they were reading books on an e-reader, then would they be aware of the size of the book when they started to read it? Would it make kids have more confidence in reading bigger and bigger books because they would all look physically the same size? - the size of the e-reader!
Is there some way you can tell on an e-reader how far you are through a book? It is satisfying to see where your bookmark is in a large book as you read - you can watch your progress through the story, and know when you're nearing the end. Do you get this same sense of achievement, anticipation and excitement- of your progress through the book- when reading an e-reader?
Not having an e-reader myself, I had a look to see what you can get. I was amazed to see how you can get books for young kids on e-readers. Full pictures books - with interactive activities, and pictures that move - and the e-readers can even read the story out loud for the kid. If you haven't seen them before have a look at the short video here at Nook Books for kids - (no particular reason for choosing this brand, it was just the first one I found and had a good video display!)
The idea of reducing the need for all that storage space needed for books in a small house is appealing. As is the argument for travelling abroad and being able to take endless books for the kids with you.
So, am I old-fashioned in liking actual books made of paper? I like seeing shelves full of books - and as I mentioned earlier, ones that have been passed down through families - still with inscriptions on some of them of who gifted that particular book - or simply who that book belonged to. You wouldn't have this on an e-reader. But then neither would they then deteriorate over time, and the pages start to loosen or fall out.
On the other hand, nothing seems to be made to last these days. Most electronic equipment needs to be replaced every few years, and becomes outdated too. I assume any books you have on your e-book can be saved and transferred to a new e-reader if necessary.
Then there is the environmental issue - of printing fewer books on paper - saving our dwindling rainforests.
My father loves reading too, and had not considered an e-reader at all until he won one. He has now tested it out and can see the benefits in it; from being able to download countless classic books for free, to being able to bring several books out to read when he comes to visit us from England (our choice of books doesn't always appeal to him!).
Do you have an e-reader? If you do, do you use it a lot? Do your kids use it?
I would love you hear from those who use them as to what they are really like, but also everyone's opinion on e-readers vs books.