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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Reading to Your Kids: E-Books vs. Traditional Books by Jacelyn Thomas

Today I have Jacelyn Thomas as guest blogger. Please be sure to check out her unique guest post. Guest posts are always welcome, please contact me.

Recently, the New York Times featured an article that emphasized the importance of reading to children. Of course, reading to kids has always been a mainstay in parent-children interaction, but the article noted that such a simple activity could have a profound impact on their educational success later in life. The article cites a study conducted by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which noted:

Fifteen-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 [an international test measuring academic ability] than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all. The performance advantage among students whose parents read to them in their early school years is evident regardless of the family’s socioeconomic background. Parents’ engagement with their 15-year-olds is strongly associated with better performance in PISA.”

Now that we parents are doubly aware of how necessary it is that we read to our young children, the next question now, with the ever-increasing popularity of e-readers, is what medium we should use to read to them. Another New York Times article reported that adults who use e-readers for their own reading activities prefer having reading to their children the old-fashioned way with print books.

The reasons for this attitude are understandable—many parents find that print books are better at engaging all the sense, including most importantly, turning pages. Other parents noted that reading on an iPad can cause distractions. Children will be more interested in playing games than reading books. The physicality of books thus promotes greater concentration and is, generally speaking, fosters a closer physical, and subsequently, a greater emotional connection with the parent. Parents have also noted that physical books can withstand damage like food and liquid stains, whereas e-readers may not.

Still, there may be advantages in reading to your children using e-platforms. For one, more and more schools, not to mention many jobs, require and encourage a native fluency with electronic media. Getting your kids used to screen technology early in life could give them a leg-up in a world in which only the technologically-savvy will survive. What’s more, using e-readers for young children who are just learning how to read may help them learn faster. Many e-readers offer software embedded into children’s books that highlight words as they are read.

The biggest obstacle when it comes to reading and kids is sustaining interest and developing habits. Given that children are naturally attracted to things with buttons and screens and colors, e-readers may encourage a deeper interest in reading, an interest that will serve them well through their adult years.

What do you think? Should parents use e-readers with their young children? Or is there some value in sticking to physical books?

This is a guest post from Jacelyn Thomas.
Jacelyn writes about identity theft protection for
Questions and comments can be sent to: Jacelyn Thomas 

Many thanks to Jacelyn.
Enjoy your reading!