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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Curl up with... a Kindle?

January 13, 2010

I got a Kindle for Christmas, and before too long it found its way into the hands of Molly (9) and Anna (7).

If you're unfamiliar with Amazon's eReader, the Kindle, or eReaders in general, they're portable electronic devices that allow you to download, store and read books wirelessly. Different from a laptop, most eReaders are not backlit, which means you can't view the screen in the dark but you can read in bright sunlight, something you can't do with a laptop. Most eReaders rely on something called eInk, which uses a low-power, high contrast "electronic paper."

Curious to see what the Kindle could offer for my young readers, we browsed the Kindle store for Children's Chapter Books. Currently, there are 9 books for Baby-3 (among them Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes by Annie Kubler,) 903 ebooks for Ages 4-8 (including Nubs and Curious George), and over 2,400 books for ages 9-12, including The Lightning Thief and The Magician's Elephant.

Sadly, Harry Potter isn't available (although several books about Harry Potter are). We also couldn't find Judy Moody, another series my 7 year old likes. One nice feature of the Kindle store is that we could download samples of books before buying. We downloaded several samples, and they really helped us make our buying decision.

After all our browsing, we couldn't really find a Kindle title that my 7 year old was dying to read, but we did end up downloading The Name of this Book is Secret . As a digital native, Anna caught on to the device immediately, and didn't seem to bring all the "reader issues" to the table that I do — I'm also reading a Kindle book, and am still trying to get past the concept that I'm not physically holding a book and not able to see the cover the way it was designed.

Will the Kindle change the world? I don't know. It's changed the look of my nightstand, for the time being. And it's changed the look of our lunch table too. Beyond that, we'll see!

Kindle Reader


Karen,Thanks for sharing the benefit of a Kindle for your son. What a wonderful example of technology use.

My son... a sophmore in college has one, he has Spinal muscular atrophy so holding and turning the pages to some books are difficult for him...the Kindle is wonderful now he can read books with no matter how big or how long they has been a blessing!!!

I like the idea of the Kindle, but there is something about having a sold book made out of paper. Some things are just best in paper. Others would be fine on the Kindle.

I am not sure how I feel about not being able to hold the book in my hand. It may take a little getting use to. A colleague has just purchased 25 Kindles for his 6th grade class. They are replacing all textbooks and class library. I am curious to see how they respond to the "computer books".

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"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." — Paul Sweeney