There have been more than a few articles between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year on the kids and e-books debate. It seems clear that kids, especially those in the middle grades, like and want e-readers and e-books. Many parents, though, – even, according to a November NY Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/business/for-their-children-many-e-book-readers-insist-on-paper.html) those who themselves are e-reading fans – seem to prefer print media for their children.
Until very recently, I was one of them. Luckily, I am the mother of an avid reader, a kid who loves reading for the adventure, but also for the smell and feel of the books themselves. But my kid is just a little different from me: my child equally loves electronics. Print books are just another device, another medium for this generation. Last year’s “Kids and Family Reading Report” (http://anatomiteca.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/2010_KFRR.pdf; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/29/kids-like-ebooks-parents-_n_743010.html) bears this out.
We have to supply good literature in as many media as possible to expose this millennial generation to as many shades of language and thought as possible. It is through reading that the vocabulary explosion happens, and that kids find themselves.
So now I fall distinctly into the camp of those who believe that anything that gets children ages 8 and up, especially boys, to read for fun, is good. E-readers and e-books are an easy way to expose children to a variety of texts, without breaking either the bank or the kids’ backs. E-ink is my choice (yes, even for digital media, I am still “old school!”) because it makes kids focus on the text itself, relying on the words to spark the visual in each child’s mind.
What do you think? Should kids be reading on electronic devices? At what age should they get their first e-reader/e-book?