Choosing an e-reader for your kids


By Sharon Miller Cindrich


Q: Is an e-reader a good gift for a child?

A: There are many educational benefits for kids who read on an electronic device-in fact thousands of schools across the country are using e-readers to help cultivate a love for reading and build literacy skills. Built-in dictionaries, read-aloud options, word games and access to a wide variety of reading materials online are just a few of the benefits.

For really young kids, an electronic learning toy can be a good choice. The InnoTab2 from VTech, for instance, features kid-friendly e-reading programs, along with a video camera, MP3 player, calendar and games. Designed for kids as young as 3, tech learning toys mimic traditional tablets, have a touch screen and retail for about $80.

Kids a little older may benefit from a basic e-reader like the Kindle or Nook. The Kindle Fire offers a scratch-resistant screen and games and apps from the Amazon AppStore for about $160. The Nook HD from Barnes & Noble costs about $200 and provides access to more than two million books, magazines and kids books.

Other e-readers include the Sony Reader, Kobo Touch and Kobo Mini. The iPad and iPad Mini can also serve as e-readers. How can you choose which is right for you child? Take a close look at these considerations when comparing gadgets:

  • Color appeal. While the Nook and Kindle both offer less expensive black and white display models, younger children especially will be interested in color displays. Consider how picture books and literacy games will be affected when deciding between black and white and color displays.
  • Filters. Most e-readers, like the Nook, Kindle Fire and iPad, have the ability to connect with the Internet and there is no perfect way to filter the content. While the iPad Mini offers the most extensive options of parental controls, Internet access can be password protected on most devices and Internet access can be turned off.
  • Price. How can you find the right fit for your child and get the best e-bang for your real-world buck? Consider whether kids can share readers, ask about student discounts and look out for retail coupons and rebates. Visit for a comprehensive list comparison of price, size and features.

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