E-books have been around for a while, but the popularity of
various tech platforms, such as the Kindle and the iPad, has
brought more awareness to the format. In its simplest form, an
e-book is digital text that can be read on a tech gadget or
computer. Recent innovations have incorporated animation, Web links
and interactive options that make e-books extra appealing to
Exploring e-books with even young children also encourages
the development of transliteracy. Transliteracy is the ability to
read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and
media, and today's child will need this 21st century skill to be
successful in school and future careers.
The most important word in the question is not electronic
or even book. It's reading. Parents should worry less about the
format and more about providing opportunities for children to read.
Consider these points as you and your child explore books through
What's the difference? Without shipping
costs or wait times, e-books offer instantaneous digital delivery,
can be carried on a mobile device or smart phone and offer options
like text size adjustments or language choice. Pictures books might
incorporate sounds and movement or a chapter book may offer
dictionary links to words for readers who stumble upon new
Don't get down on digital. Even if you're
a paperback junkie, avoid criticizing electronic books or getting
on your too-much-technology soapbox. Kids will be more likely to
benefit from the e-reading experiences they have at school or with
friends if they know you support their reading opportunities-in
print and digital formats.
Make it positive. Curling up with a great
stack of books from the library can be a wonderful, positive
reading experience-as can discovering a new book app together on
your mobile phone or flipping pages of an e-book on the computer.
No matter which format you're enjoying, the most important thing to
promote is a positive reading experience and create opportunities
for both types when you can.
Explore them together. Do a little
research with your child. Electronic readers like the Nook from
Barnes & Noble and Amazon's Kindle offer kid-friendly
collections of digital books for children of every age. Many local
libraries offer free downloadable e-books for computers, mobile
devices and electronic readers. Take a look at the "Alice in
Wonderland" app for the iPad to get a new view of an old classic.
Sharon Cindrich is a mother of two tech-savvy kids from Virginia Beach. Learn more at sharoncindrich.com.
See more of Sharon's stories here.
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