Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kids and ereaders

As a parent I have always stressed the importance of reading to my three kids. I began reading to them in utero and afterwards, always making sure bedtime included a book or two. I'm happy to say all three still love to read and are strong readers in school. But reading is changing, or at least the way we read is changing, and it's exciting.

When the first ereaders were introduced years ago, I was on the fence about them in general. There's something about the smell and feel of a new book that can't be replicated or bottled. Then I became involved in book blogging, reviewing and swapping. The books were coming into my house at a steady rate. As I look around my family room, the bookshelves are beginning to sag and keeping track of what we have can be a job into itself. I've run out of shelf space. So I reconsidered the ereader question and went for it. I asked for a Kindle for my birthday and have to give it major props for convenience and storage.

So how do kids fit into this equation? My youngest started second grade last month. For him, it was monumental and he decided to go through his bookcase. Many picture books were taken out--"those are for babies, mom!" was what he said--and I gave them away. But then what would we read at bedtime? He's still not crazy about longer chapter books so I downloaded an older kid's picture book for him on my Nook (love the color). The experience was quite magical. He propped the Nook on a pillow and listened to the story being read to him while he touched the screen to turn pages. He loved it. And so did I.

In this age where technological gadgets are a plenty and our kids have so many things fighting for their free time, it is wonderful to see books and the joy of reading not get lost in the crowd of video games, texting, or this-and-that on demand. I believe with ereaders books will flourish in this new format by offering children the fun of interaction. It seems like a natural progression considering all of the educational toys that are available when they're toddlers (Leap pad, Leapster, etc.). Children will continue to read, authors will continue to create, and publishing will continue to publish. Oh, the places children can go to now will be monumental.

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