Choosing an E-reader and E-book Service For Children?
With today’s technological world, many parents worry about exposing their child to more technology, but several studies have found that about a third of children ages 9-17 claim that they would read more often if they were allowed to read e-books. I, personally believe the same basic considerations should be given to purchasing an e-reader for a child as would purchasing an e-reader for an adult, with a few variations according to their age. Hopefully, by the end of this blog post, you will have enough information to make an educated choice for your little ones. Without further adieu, lets jump right in
Tips On How To Choose The Best E-reader For Your Child:
- First of all, you must consider your child and your reading objectives for your child. Consider the child’s age and what the device will be used for. Young readers will probably need more enhancements, such as games. Older readers may need to be able to access the internet to do research on what they’re reading.
- Make sure that you appeal to the child’s sense of sight. Younger children will most likely want a device with color display, that will bring the books to life. Older children will most likely be using adult e-readers and will want to be able to customize them with skins or carrying cases.
- Think about the size of the device, screen, and controls. Children who are familiar with portable devices for gaming will probably not have a problem with a small screen. The smaller control buttons may be too small for an adult, but the perfect size for the tiny fingers of a child. Though adults may prefer the larger devices, they tend to be a bit bulky and hard to use for children.
- Think about the displays: while an e-ink display is great for reading and much easier on the eyes, it means no color.
- Look at the prices of the various e-readers. These handy devices can be around a couple of hundred dollars. However, children these days are pretty accustomed to handling expensive devices. If you have multiple children, cost may be more of a factor because they’re not likely to be willing to share an e-reader.
- Consider what it will cost to run the device- is the battery rechargeable or will you have to replace batteries? How often will you need to recharge or replace the batteries? Most of the e-readers have at least five hours of battery life. However, there are some that have less.
- Choose a device that offers options for book formats. Some of the e-readers are limited to only specific formats- usually those offered by the particular manufacturer. Find out if you’ll be able to share books with your child or download library books.
- Think about whether you want your child to only be able to read or you want an enhanced experience for them. Some of the e-readers will read to your child when they touch the words. Some of the other e-readers offer quizzes and animation.
- For older children, consider getting a laptop, as most of the e-reader manufacturers have an app that can be downloaded to the computer or even a smart phone. You can also consider adult e-readers as they will have a much longer battery life and you’ll be able to get more book formats and free books. The disadvantage is that they cost more and were created for adults, which means they’re not as sturdy.
Interactive E-books for Children:
As mentioned previously, when purchasing an e-reader for your child, you should know that you have the option of purchasing interactive e-books for them. You can purchase these e-books individually or enroll in a monthly or annual subscription. Following is a list of the four most popular interactive e-book services.
- Disney Digital: This service has more than 600 children’s books- both new and classic in an e-reader, interactive format. Children can virtually turn the pages as the words of the story are highlighted and the story is read out loud to them. A simple touch or click of the mouse will allow the kids to get a proper pronunciation and a definition for words that they don’t know. Kids are rewarded according to the amount of reading they do and the number of trivia questions related to the story they can answer. Additionally, kids can create their own personal stories with the Story-Builder. Parents are able to access what their children are doing and can subscribe on a monthly or annual basis.
- Raz-Kids: This service has interactive books that children can listen to and read online. A narrator will read the story as the words are highlighted so that children can easily follow along. There are 27 levels of difficulty with Raz-Kids, starting at kindergarten level and going through sixth-grade. If a child is having difficulty with a particular word, he/she can click on it for assistance with pronunciation. Also, there are comprehension quizzes where children can earn stars and earn virtual prizes in the incentive program. This program is a subsidiary of Learning A-Z and offers a free trial, free book samples, and even an option to purchase an annual license.
- TumbleBooks:This service offers picture books that are animated for teachers to use at school. The library of available books includes fiction and non-fiction for all ages from elementary to high school. In addition to the books, the service also offers an array of games and puzzles. Personal books can be narrated and recorded, lesson plans and quizzes created, and book reports completed. This particular service is only available as an annual subscription, but organizations can grant access to as many users as necessary. TumbleBooks UNPLUGGED can be put on a computer and allows the entire library to be accessed without having a connection to the internet.
- Wizz-E: This program offers animated books for kids in an instant-delivery, online format. The pages turn and the words are highlighted as the book is read out loud. If a child is struggling with a word, they can click on it to have it read to them again. Each of the books has an interactive multiple choice quiz at the end of it. This program does not require a monthly or annual subscription. Instead, books are purchased individually and can be accessed online or downloaded after purchase.
Other Popular Kids E-Book Subscription Services:
Pre-readers through to Junior Novels
There are certain e-readers that have been created and built with children in mind, but here are the ones that we vouch for:
- Vtech Vreader
- Nook Color from Barnes and Noble
- Fisher-Price iXL
- Aiptek Storybook Color
- Sony Reader PRS-600
- Isabella Fable (color tablet for children)
Though technology is not always the best thing for children, many children say that if they had access to e-readers and e-books that they would read much more often. As you can see, there are lots of choices of e-readers out there that are customized to the needs of children. Plus, there are lots of options for them to have access to e-books. While the same basic considerations should be used to purchase an e-reader for your child as you would use to choose one for yourself, there are a few differences.