Wednesday, February 23, 2011

eReaders For Kids

VTech's Flip eReader
When my baby chews on the corner of a book, I call it Early Literacy.

When I hand him a book in the car, I call it Healthy Entertainment.

When I put him on my lap and look at a book with him, I call it Snuggle Time.

I recently learned that eReaders for young children are available and becoming popular.  At first I wondered how any eReader could survive in the hands of young children.  I have kids.  I've taped pages back in books and repaired bindings more than once.  Then I saw the companies involved.  VTech.  Fisher Price.  Nintendo.  These giants are experts at making indestructible electronics.  I have "computers" from VTech and Fisher Price that have survived seven kids and four years.  I can imagine them making a durable eReader.

The real question is, "Would I want one?"  It could mean less time in my book repair shop.  It could mean happier car rides.  Is there really anything wrong with a book that reads itself?  I do think kids' brains receive helpful sensory input when they feel textures and turn pages, but buying an eReader wouldn't mean throwing away all our books or canceling library trips.  The fact is, I can imagine Early Literacy and Healthy Entertainment with an eReader.

When I imagine Snuggle Time with an eReader, I start to cringe.  Then I realize what is really important: the snuggles.  And learning to read, of course.  As long as snuggling doesn't get replaced with the newest technological trend, I won't fight the eReader.

How do you feel about eReaders and kids?  Is there a place for them?  This article lists a few eReaders for preschoolers and this article announces VTech's newest plans.


D. U. Okonkwo said...

Early Literacy - hilarious! I had no idea that eReaders were also available for kids, either. Wow - those eReader manufacturers aren't leaving any corner of the market unturned are they?

Laura Marcella said...

I prefer ink and paper and those are the kind of books I buy for my niephlings. But I'm all for kids (and adults) getting excited about reading and books, so if an eReader ignites that passion then I think that's awesome! There's always a place for reading no matter how it's done. :)

Laura Marcella said...

PS) I'm tweeting this post! You brought up great questions and it'd make an interesting discussion. Are you on twitter? You can find me @LauraMarcella.

Bethany Mattingly said...

There's just something nice about sitting down with a kid and taking turns reading with them. I don't think it'd be the same with an ereader, but I'd be willing to give it a try.

Carla said...

D.U., Their marketing really does find every corner!

Laura, I also have mixed you can tell! Thanks for tweeting! I am on twitter (CarlaINHouston), though I am very new at it. :)

Bethany, That was exactly my first reaction. I am becoming more willing, too, the more I think about it!


terri.forehand said...

I have mixed views myself, I write medical questions and was able to download a textbook to my ereader while I write questions on my computer so it is easily referenced. On the other hand, I love to curl up with my grandkids and good books. I think they will have their place but I hope they never totally take the place of the real thing.

storyqueen said...

Not sure how I feel about this one. I think e-readers are cool for kids to get to interact with the text in a new way. Great for when there is no other human around. But there is something wonderful about the way a brain has to conjure meaning from words on paper and the magic that happens between two brains working together to do this. I think the e-reader does a little too much work for the brain...thus, the magic is kind of less.

Just my opinion, of course.

Great post.


Carla said...

Thanks for sharing, Shelley! It does make me wonder what exactly happens in a brain as a story is read. I suppose magic is hard to measure, but the scientist in me is very curious!


Angela Scott said...

I say for traveling, yes by all means get an ereader for kids. Also, I'm a big fan of real books and my house is littered with them--shelfs and shelfs. Kid books are everywhere. It might me nice to have them all in one localized place--an ereader. I have a Kindle for myself (a christmas gift) and I worried if it would be the same. I love it. I do. But I still buy real books here and there.

Thanks for popping by my blog. Nice to meet you in this big ol' world of blogging :)

Arlee Bird said...

I can see where the e-readers for kids might be good and since kids are exposed to technology so early anyway it is probably a natural thing. But I have the same reservations as with regular e-readers. A book with proper care will last for ages. Who knows about the e-reader and the data within.

Tossing It Out

M Pax said...

There probably is a place for an ereader. Better than a nintendo, right? Although the love of books came early from those wonderful pages of color. Not sure an ereader can duplicate what paper can.

Carla said...

Angela, I love the idea of a cleaner house! I'm not convinced the eReader could pull it off, but it would be great!

Lee, this is a great point. It does seem like technology is constantly changing. I know files I saved in the early 90s on 5" floppy discs are completely inaccessible now. I can only imagine what data storage will look like in another 20 years!

MPax, I DO think they're better than Nintendos, though I also think video games have their place!


nutschell said...

hi Carla
Thanks for the kind compliments you left on my blog, and for being a new follower. I'm glad I found your blog, and a fellow A-Z challenge participant as well! Looking forward to seeing more of you on the web. Oh, and join my character counts contest, you might win a fabulous Character creation tool!

Pk Hrezo said...

I love the idea of kids with eReaders. It gives them a gadget they can learn from. I worry about parental controls tho!

Pk Hrezo said...

Congrats in the articles!

I love the idea of eReaders for kids, but I worry about content they'd have access to.

Carla said...

Thanks stopping by Pk! I think you have some of the most in-favor-of-eReaders-for-kids comments yet! I hadn't even thought of content restrictions, though. I wonder what kind of parental controls are available.


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