Until now, eReaders (digital book-reading devices) were used exclusively by adults, but the release of vTech’s eReader models for children and Apple’s iPad means it is time to explore the benefits of eReaders for kids.
One year ago, IDK noted how web technologies make story-telling inclusive for deaf and hearing children who may be in the same classroom. When e-books merge audio, text and animation options, child literacy improves, as demonstrated in the UK’s Signed Stories project to support social inclusion.
Some obvious benefits of digital readers and e-books for children:
- A wide range of books are available for kids with different needs
- Accessible, picture-based e-books develop a child’s imagination.
- Interactive books engage children and make learning fun.
- First ABCs and words can be taught as a family is on the move.
- Sign language may be easier to link to print letters in an e-book.
- E-books hold many books on one device and are lighter than paper.
- Younger children learn new words and extend their vocabulary.
- Older children learn to construct sentences and stories by reading.
Several different types of e-readers are available with uses. Here are some top-selling e-books that are available for most popular eReaders.
- Dora the Explorer. These e-books read a story while highlighting the text being said. This supports word association for children, who can colour in characters, between chapters to consolidate learning.
- The Happy Prince and Other Tales. Today’s kids enjoy these stories. The ebook has favorites by Oscar Wilde, like The Selfish Giant.
- The Harry Potter books. These are for older children and words can be highlighted. The e-book allows children to choose where the story should go by giving them different places to go or spells to cast.
Digital readers and e-books are the future for education and many countries are phasing in digital media to national education systems. In June 2009, the state of California proposed a plan to increase digital media use in education, starting with maths and science subjects. In the last college year Hackney City Academy in the UK also offered digital textbooks to students.
(compiled by Miriam Walsh)