I’m a huge fan of anything that gets kids to read. If it inspires them to love learning, I’ll give it a shot. This applies to video games, TV Shows (Hollaback if you love The Magic School Bus!), board games and other non-traditional educational devices.
Now that e-readers and discount tablets are all the rage, Nook Color, Kindle Fire, and various discount tablet manufacturers all have a comprehensive (enough) android platform tablet for less than $250. And the number and range of applications available is impressive. All the world is jumping on the educational applications bandwagon. That being said, I do not suggest a tablet for your child. But I am all in favor of an e-reader. Why?
Price. The price for a Kindle is now as low as $79. Of course this includes “special offers” which it is worth paying $30 to turn off. This is roughly the cost of two video games that have a lot less educational potential. Not to mention that there are a variety of educational games that can be played on the Kindle.
Capacity. The lowest priced Kindle holds roughly 1,400 books. I’m going to guess that it will hold even more childrens books because of their shorter length.
Features. The addition of library lending makes the e-reader a solid hit. I make no secret of the fact that I am a Kindle owner and LOVE my device, but the ability to get books from the library in Kindle format was a great addition. The text-to-speech feature lets your child have the kindle become an audio book which is nice for quiet time at night or longer car trips. With my youngest, sometimes me being in the room reading to him is a distraction. A nice audiobook helps him unwind and fall asleep much more quickly.
Free content. In addition to library lending and the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (if, like me, you have Amazon Prime), there are hundreds of free books available for Kindle. I take a couple minutes every day to see what’s new and hot, but there are lots of classic books including Little Women, Sherlock Holmes, Alice in Wonderland, The Ugly Duckling… Hundreds of titles await you and your curious child!
No clutter! All the books live on the device and in the cloud so your child can carry an entire library!
I hear you. You’re saying “But the wi-fi! I don’t want my kid having unlimited access to my Amazon account.” Simple fix. You have a couple of options. One, do not register your child’s kindle to your Amazon account. Set up one just for the child’s kindle and put a gift card with the monthly allowance on it. My preferred choice: supervise your child when he or she is looking for new books. Download books together. If your home wi-fi is password protected, you will always have some control over your child’s access to the web. Definitely choose wi-fi over 3G for your child. 3G you have no control over.
I truly believe that before long, all books will be in e-format so the sooner kids get comfortable with this technology the better. Do I love “real” books? Sure. But I love my Kindle too.
If one book puts the world at your child’s fingertips, imagine what 1,400 books in their hands can do?