A new electronic item in the headlines recently, is the e-reader. What are e-readers, and how do they benefit deaf children who are learning to read? E-readers are electronic devices, such as the Kindle, that allow the user to read an electronic book instead of a paper book. They are increasingly used by educators to encourage and enable reading among all pupils at a school.
Documented benefits of e-readers to deaf children include:
- Children stay engaged for an entire story – regardless of hearing!
- Reluctant readers can be enticed with a range of comics and books
- E-readers give reading an extra edge for young digital-natives
- Linking of items and words can improve children’s word understanding
- Vocabulary and comprehension improve with increased interactivity
- Grammatical structures are learned as readers engage with an e-book
- Deaf and hard-of-hearing students can use multimedia like captions and captioned video, which IDK sees increasing in children’s books
- Captions in e-books allow children to link sounds to words in stories (newcomers to cochlear implants need to learn to hear new sounds)
- Sound can be switched on, or off in e-readers, as the reader prefers
Which e-reader to invest in?
Popular discussion forums for deaf and hard-of-hearing people speak highly of Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook app, and of Kobo. Other options include Apple’s iPad which supports Nook and Kindle for iPad.
The Kindle has positive reviews online from deaf and hard-of-hearing users for its options, such as the e-reader application which allows someone to read along with a text-to-speech capability and a font enlargement option.
The user can also flag a section and make notes. The Nook and the Kobo are also well-received by deaf and hard-of-hearing users for varied reasons.
Most e-readers allow the reader to get a dictionary definition for any word that’s clicked on. We recommend you compare all e-book features with your (child’s) individual needs in mind, to make the best choice for your situation.
(compiled by Monica Heck)
- New Study: Babies Learn Language By Lip-Reading
- Deaf Preschoolers’ Literacy Benefits From E-Books
- Early Learning With Smart-Phones And Tablet PCs
- New Words-App For Children With Hearing Devices
- Touch-Screen Tech Boosts Literacy In Deaf Children
- Digital Readers (eReaders) Improve Child Literacy