Wednesday, September 19, 2012

eReaders or Real Books for Preschoolers?

Pros and Cons of eReaders for Preschool Children


I asked Katie, Mommy with Selective Memory, if she would take a picture of Little Munchkin using the iPad. Munchkin loves to wear pretty dresses and was happy to oblige. But Katie told me she did not stay with the iPad very long after the picture was taken.


Technology is a wonderful tool and I LOVE my Kindle - but I believe creating a love of reading with beginning readers is best done on the lap of a parent with a real book, conversation and interaction. A parent’s voice is soothing to a young child and can be full of expression. Sharing books together forms a comforting bond as a child turns pages, touches the illustrations, and actively participates in the reading process.

Young children learn using their five senses and movement. They will engage in a book more if they are interacting with a book that has flaps, movable gadgets and interesting textures. Reading is more than learning letters sounds and putting the sounds together to form words. Reading is a magical adventure. Communication with a parent or teacher enhances the experience and adds to comprehension, language development, and vocabulary. Questions can be asked and answered.
 


CONS OF eREADERS

  • Research concludes that children who are exposed to too much electronic reading have a lower vocabulary and delayed language development
    E-reading tends to be more of a solitaire experience and may even become a babysitter
  •  Comprehension is lower perhaps because children are distracted by the lighting, ways to move around the book, and options for playing games. Deep focusing is inhibited.
  • Young children need large print and interesting illustrations.
  • Heat can destroy an eReader if left in a hot car and they need to be re-charged  
  •  Going to the library and picking out books cannot be experienced by using an eReader. Owning a collection of books that are re-read numerous times creates a feeling of ownership and comfort
  • The lights and movement on eReaders can be stimulating and keep children awake after bedtime. 

PROS OF eREADERS

  • May be more engaging to reluctant readers and children with special needs
  • Can supplement reading skills through repetition
  • Saves on book expenses and trees (I love garage sale books)
  • Easily available on long car rides or doctor appointments when child needs more to do
  • May give parents a much needed and deserved break!
  • For recommended FREE ebooks, see No Twiddle Twaddle
Children crave and need a parent’s nearness for bonding, creating a love of reading, and comprehension of what was read - whether using a flat screen or a paper book. As with everything in life, finding a healthy balance is desirable.

Resources:
Why the Real World is Better for Children than an iPad, Psychology Today
Sesame's Best Practice Guide for Children's App Development
Parents Urged to Limit TV for Youngest, The New York Times

Would you like inexpensive ideas, activities, and games to teach your child through play? Mommy with Selective Memory and I can help save your sanity, one project at a time, with The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Or you might like a glimpse into Kindergarten - for parents and teachers. Both bestsellers are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.








Does your child prefer real books or eReaders?

20 comments:

  1. Funny you used our pic to show pros of real books in a way, because Nico doesn't care for books onyoutube (we don't have an e-reader), he wants a real book to hold :) Thanks again for sharing!

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    1. Thank you so much for the photo, Valerie! I love it because Nico looks soooooo happy sitting on his dad's lap.

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  2. I totally agree. I think for beginning readers, we should use real books.there is still nothing beats the experience of holding and touching the story books, feeling the pictures, and best of all the shared memory a child and parent engaged into whenever reading real books together. and yeah you are right, the experience of going to and picking books in shelves in the library is another wonderful experience every child must have.

    we can be more dynamic by using the ipads to view ebooks after real books.We can also try to alternate the two..so the child will understand that there are other ways we can read and enjoy stories.

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    1. MariaAna - you have a very interesting blog. Thanks for visiting - and agreeing!

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  3. My girls rarely use in the nook we have to read. Most times they prefer a real book to the nook. They like names every now and then. Mostly they like pocking around the picture and not the book.

    I like having the real books to real book because my girls can point to the words and not have it say the word. They can sound out each letter while they work on reading.

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  4. Cassie - Thank you for your comment. I know your girls are learning so much from such a great mom. Love your blog.

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  5. Hi, Susan. I agree with so much of what you say here. Obviously, I'm not against eBook reading, but I also LOVE real books, especially picture books. We try to have a balance in our home. My kids love technology, so I will pull out an eBook as a special way to read when we are at the doctor's office or when they are tired and cranky. But, we also check out stacks and stacks of books from the library, and I would consider that our real reading.

    I would add one concern to your list, and that is the lower quality of especially free eBooks. I love the free eBooks and that is why I make a list of them each day, but I think parents should be careful that their children read plenty of high-quality literature. So, even a large Kindle library wouldn't replace trips to the library in my mind.

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    1. Bethany - I love your blog and your free ebook list. It is wonderful. I want children to read and learn to read by any means. I just want parents to understand that a flat screen cannot be a substitute for back-and-forth communication. I'm LOVE my Kindle. Just worry that too many kids are facing screens too much of the time when they need to be learning by play and bonding with their parents. Your blog is amazing.

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  6. Agree with what you have written here. I love my ereader and the children see me reading from it as well as books, however I have found the children in my care prefer me to read books with them, rather than ebooks. In this last year, I have found that I seem to use an ebook or YouTube video of books that I do not have at hand if there is a special interest or need. Otherwise it's all about real books here, to handle, discuss, read and reread.

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    1. Just visited your blog and love it. I think it is all about finding a balance. Screen time should be limited for young ones who love hands-on learning. But I've for whatever works to help children learn to read. Thanks for visiting.

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  8. Good post, Mrs. Case. Reading is very important to young children and can be done in a variety of ways. Books on e-readers using technology is good but so are real books to feel and smell. I believe many different methods of books and reading can be used with young children as long as it is done in moderation. Some reading in person and some reading online. As you know I have been video recording books for use on tablets. I have had many responses that those books are useful. One of my former students loves seeing me read books on his mom's iPad.
    All of the different methods of reading must be done in moderation, alternating between live person readings and technology readings.

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    1. Brenna - I think it is wonderful that you are using technology so wisely. I'm sure children love hearing you read books. Technology is great - just hoping it's not being overused or substituted too much for some real back-and-forth interaction. Thanks for visiting.

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  9. I agree with you about children learning to read with actual books being better for them than from a kindle. By being able to turn the pages themselves, children can feel more involved in the reading process.

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    1. Yes, children loved the hands-on involvement and back-and-forth communication. Thanks for commenting, Katie.

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  10. I am a former reading teacher and I think eReaders are fine *in moderation*. My two preschool-aged kids and I read for hours most days...real books. Sometimes that's not enough for them, but since I can't read ALL DAY, they also have audiobooks they can listen to on their own (a real book and a CD), Tag reader books they can do on their own (a real book and a reader pen), and they can do up to ~30 minutes a day on their iPod Touch or my iPad reading ebooks/playing educational apps. While I do think total screen and electronic time should be limited (for example, we watch no TV and average 30 minutes or less of video watching time a day), I do think in this technological world, our kids CAN benefit from a controlled amount of exposure. I think real books should make up at least 75-90% of their reading time, though, with eReaders and other educational apps just used as occasional supplements. Thanks for the food for thought, Susan! :)

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    1. Great answer. Finding a good balance is key. I'm all for technology and its many benefits - just don't want children and parents to miss out on the sharing/teaching experience. Sounds like you've figured out what works best for your family. Thanks so much for visiting. LOVE your blog.

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    2. I think your post is a good one because some probably do just hand their kids an eReader and think that's enough. Hopefully this will get them thinking about incorporating more real books AND more one-on-one time with their kids!! Off to share on my Facebook page. :)

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  11. I loved reading this article and look forward to exploring the rest of your blog. I am passionately pro-book, but enjoy reading the news and, obviously, blogs and other items, on my tablet. I feel a number of concerns over the general movement away from books in our society, especially for our youngest members. I appreciated your comments and those of the others supporting your stance. I would like to add that I have personally found incredible joy in sharing with my two young children books that I read with my own parents as a child. My mother saved many of our favorite stories and there is, for me, a particular charm in seeing them finger the same pages I once turned. This experience, of course, could never be replicated by an e-reader; in a few years, even, this technology will be obsolete and we'll all be comparing notes on the next new thing. And, while you point out that e-readers work to keep trees being cut down to produce paper for books, gadgets like e-readers have an undeniable larger negative impact on the envrionment. From their dependence on energy to the precious metals and caustic chemicals required for their production, these ultimately much harder-to-dispose-of devises have, unfortuanely, a finite period of usefulness shorter, in most cases, than the "life" of a book. And, you would have to download very large quantites of free or cheap literature to offset the high cost of most e-readers before you couuld claim any real savings. I struggle with teaching my children to appreciate simplified, sustainable living while giving them exposure to an ever-changing technology that plays an increasingly large role in the world. I feel that e-readers are a means for helping them achieve a comfort and confidence with technology in general, but books, for me, hold an enduring charm that a tech-fad never will.

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    1. Sarah - what an interesting comment. I hadn't really thought of the cost of the eReaders on our environment. Yes, I agree that children need to be exposed to the classic literature. And the ever-changing technology just drives me crazy - must have something newer and better mindset. No wonder our society is so stressed. Thank you for visiting and the comment.

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