Mar 252015

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It’s no surprise that I read a ton of ebooks. Also no surprise that I read to my 5 year old son every day (mostly at bedtime, but sometimes he goes crazy on library day). What may be a surprise is that I never read ebooks with my son.

It’s not for a lack of device, as we have 2 iPads in the house, along with my ereader. I’ve even downloaded a few children’s ebook apps on the iPad before, but they’re just not popular with either him or me. We prefer to read physical books.

Part of it is the fact that we read at bedtime, and physical books are much easier on his eyes than an electronic device. It lets his eyes relax and unwind. We can sit together and flip the pages, going back if needed. He can touch various words or pictures (he’s just learning to read). There is a very sensory aspect to our reading.

Part of it is the size. An iPad isn’t that big (we have an original and an iPad mini), and most children’s book are larger in physical format. It makes them easier to see. Children’s books also tend to be light, often lighter than an iPad.

Part of it is the collection aspect. My son probably has over 100 books crammed onto his bookshelf, and that doesn’t include the 8-10 library books we get every two weeks. Or the read-for-homework books he brings home every day. Children’s books are so easy to collect. I buy them from his school, at the dollar store, from garage and book sales. They are available everywhere, for very little money. He also gets them as gifts from family and friends at birthdays and Christmas and other occasions.

When people start lamenting how ebooks will replace physical books, I always scoff because I don’t see it happening. Especially for children’s books. There is something so vital about having the physical form when reading to a child. I don’t see that disappearing any time soon. And when he’s old enough to want to read ebooks over physical books, I know I’ll be just a touch sad since it means he’ll be leaving behind a very integral part of childhood.

  2 Responses to “Discussion: Ebooks and Young Children”

  1. I really like your post. I’m a new mom (my kiddo is 7 months old) and we’ve begun reading to him at bedtime and whenever he’s in need of calming down because he seems to enjoy sitting down, looking at pictures and listening to our voices.
    But I haven’t even thought of getting e-books for him! You’re right, reading for a child is a multi-sensory experience and I think we’ll stick with paper for now. I guess he’ll progress to e-books when he’s older (like middle grade possibly?) – I hope so, at least, because I hope he grows up a reader.

    • My hope is that my son grows up to be a reader too, but even if he doesn’t I know we’ve had a great start together. I find reading with him is soothing for both him and me. Got to love when that happens!

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