The printed books vs digital books debate is an age-old one. We will here point out the reasons that make digital books more suitable for children.
Much has been documented about the benefits of a regular reading habit among kids and teens. However, when it comes to the little readers, the convenience factor also comes into the picture. In fact, convenience is one of the key reasons behind the popularity of digital reading (Kindles, iPads, reading apps for kids, etc.).
A recent research revealed that 3 out of every 4 children own/use reading devices that weigh less than 8 ounces, and yet, can store more than a thousand good children’s books (in digital format). In today’s discussion, we will highlight some other advantages of digital reading for kids, as opposed to traditional book reading:
- Instant availability – Most kids want many things…and they want them NOW! If your son/daughter wants to read a particular storybook, (s)he might not have the patience to wait – as you take out time to visit a local bookstore, or order the book online. Getting a digital copy is a lot easier. On any good mobile storytelling apps for kids, you’ll find loads of quality children’s books available via in-app purchases. On the web too, you can look up legal download sources for the book(s) your child wants to read.
- Space and maintenance – Reading is a great source for learning, there are no two ways about it. There is, however, one problem – if your son/daughter is indeed growing into a vociferous reader. Firstly, you will need to have ample space at your home to store the books (a private library, maybe?). Secondly, well, they are kids after all – and you cannot really expect them to handle paper books with real care. Both of these problems are nicely solved if you get an iPad app for kids for your li’l darling, and encourage him/her to read on it.
- Better understanding – Parents and child instructors unanimously agree that reading increases the vocabulary of kids. Reading printed books only might not fulfill this advantage completely. There is every chance that, whenever your child comes upon an ‘unknown’ word, (s)he will simply skip over it (ever heard of a toddler reaching out for a big, fat dictionary?). On ebook readers and the best iPhone/Android apps for kids – there is built-in dictionary-support. Tapping on any word leads to its meaning being instantaneously displayed. A much easier way for a child to understand every word (s)he is reading!
- Greater customization options – The text fonts in the new storybook for kids you have just bought are too small? Well, too bad – for you are stuck with it (unless, of course, you decide to throw it away). On any free kids’ reading app, the fonts, images, background, audio effects – everything can be customized. You can adjust the settings so that your kid can read the stories with the maximum ease (no straining of eyes whatsoever). Automatic text-highlighting is yet another advantage of digital texts. Don’t you just hate it when printed books are underlined and scribbled upon?
- Great travel companions – Okay, mobile games also serve the same purpose, but book reading has that extra educational benefits too. Digital books/ebooks are easily portable, and a kid can happily read along on any smart device – during a relatively long journey. Tagging along multiple printed storybooks is not a particularly smart idea, particularly when your son/daughter can carry his/her entire digital book library in a lightweight, user-friendly device.
- Facilitates two-way communication – Book-reading, in its conventional format, is a one-way activity. Using an ebook reader or a mobile app for kids brings along the extra dimension of two-way interactions. Kids can add their own comments on the digital texts, follow links to other reference websites, listen to audio, and even learn up the correct pronunciation of words. In addition, most of these reading applications come with puzzles, games, story trivia, and other interactive elements. Things are changing, and it is no longer about staring at a paper book for hours on end!
- Early familiarity with gadgets – Not a direct benefit of digital reading, but a very important factor nevertheless. ‘The future is mobile’, confirms experts from the domain of education technology – and in such a scenario, the sooner your beloved child gets a basic idea of how to operate e-readers, smartphones and tablets, the better. Reading offers them the opportunity to increase their acquaintance with such gadgets in the best possible manner. Leave an intelligent child alone with an iPad and a good, well-stacked reading app – and in a couple of days, (s)he might show you certain controls and functions of the device you were not aware of!
- More engaging – Digitally mastered books, including the classics and the timeless fairytales, generally have smooth and interesting animations. Developers of children’s apps correctly point out that such videos make the applications more engaging – and lend a dynamic feel to the software. No matter how many pictures a traditional printed book contains, it cannot quite seem as ‘alive’ as its digital counterpart.
- The price factor – Good books for kids are not particularly cheap. If your little one asks for a new book every week, the expenses might be a prohibiting factor. You can do away with such concerns, simply by switching over to a free storytelling application for kids. It will have plenty of downloadable free storybooks, to keep your son/daughter hooked. What’s more – most of these apps have ‘freemium’ features (i.e., you can buy digital storybooks directly from the app, at nominal prices). That way, you won’t have to spend too much, and the child would get as much reading material as (s)he wants. Price should never be a worrying factor, when you are looking for good books for kids. Digital reading ensures just that.
- Multiple reading options – A relatively new feature in ebook readers and children’s apps is the option to ‘listen’ to stories, instead of actually reading them. For instance, the storytelling application you download might have two options – ‘Read To Me’ and ‘Read Myself’. Whenever a kid is not in the mood to read on his/her own, (s)he can simply activate the other option. You can, of course, read stories from printed storybooks to your child – but let’s face it, is it always possible to manage our busy lifestyles and take out time for that?
- Geographical barriers have disappeared – A particular book is not available in your city? An old favorite has gone out of print? Problems like these would cease to exist, from the moment you (and your son/daughter) switches over to reading books in digital format. Right from texts and references by any author, to the bestsellers in every language – you can find them all at the leading online bookstores for kids. Barring a few exceptions, legally downloading them is easy. Where you live need not put limits on the type/range/titles of books your kid gets to read.
- Supplements classroom education – While at home, your child probably spends quite a bit of time with mobile gadgets – so why not take advantage of this? Instead of trying to coax him/her into opening an alphabet-learning book, or a pronunciation guide, or a book of manners, you can simply download and install a good educational app for kids on your device, and hand it over to your son/daughter. (S)he will enjoy the latter option a lot more, and the learning benefits will be way greater too.
Easy searchability and bookmarking/pagemarking feature among the other advantages of digital books. Unlike printed books, these have no chances of getting misplaced either. Most ebooks are available in multiple formats – so compatibility is not an issue.
The value, and sheer charm. of printed books can never be replaced by ebooks. Moreover, not every popular book title is available in digital format. There is no room for doubting that traditional books will remain popular over time. It’s only that, for kids, digital books are that bit more suitable.
Does your child read digital books?
The post Why Should Kids Be Encouraged For Digital Reading? appeared first on Story Time for Kids.