Reading Rainbow Mom
By Jenni Buchanan, Reading Rainbow Mom
New research has shown that more and more children are reading their books on electronic devices. The most recent edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report (a national survey) found these interesting results:
- The percent of children who have read an ebook has almost doubled since 2010 (25% vs. 46%).
- Half of children age 9-17 say they would read more books for fun if they had greater access to ebooks — a 50% increase since 2010.
- More than half (57%) of moderately frequent readers who have not read an ebook agree they would read more if they had greater access to ebooks.
What these findings make clear is that if we want to encourage our children to be readers, we have to let them do it on their own terms — through their electronic devices such as phones, iPads and Kindles.
This idea is disturbing to some parents, who think of visual devices as something that turns OFF the thinking mind rather than turning it ON. We have to get past this way of thinking, however, because digital devices are here to stay. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps out there that can engage kids' minds on many levels, and actually enhance their critical reading and thinking skills.
Digital devices offer kids choices. With the right reading app your child not only has an entire library at their fingertips, but they also have the option of having the book read to them, or trying their hand at reading it on their own. This can be a huge boon to busy parents.
Which parent doesn't remember reading their toddler the same book over and over again until both parent and child have the entire book memorized? This "memorization" of a book is a crucial part of the learning-to-read process, and digital reading devices can help with that. Furthermore, the read-to-me, read-along, or read-by-myself options appeal to a wide age range, and grow WITH a child. Choice and exposure to books of all reading levels allows a quick learner to advance, while encouraging a slower reader to not give up.
Kids are natural explorers, and digital devices give a child the ability to indulge in that! Kids find a topic of interest and they want to follow it to the very end; talking about it, asking questions about, reading about it and designing imaginative games around it until they are steeped in it. Again, the right reading app will give your child options — clickable links leading to further information, video field trips, interactive games … In short, it will give your child the ability to go deeper into a topic that catches their interest.
Every parent wants to inspire a love of reading in their children, but the world is changing, and a love of reading won't look the same today as it did a few decades — or even a few years ago. We still read books, but now we might listen to them, read them on iPads or Kindles, and even interact with them! This means allowing kids to connect with the written word through their devices. So give your children the ability to read and explore quality literature through the medium with which they feel most comfortable; at any time, and in any place.
As the Reading Rainbow Mom, Jenni Buchanan enjoys sharing her love of reading with kids and adults all over the world; encouraging readers of ALL ages to believe that they can "go anywhere, be anything." Jenni is an avid reader, a freelance writer, and teacher of literature, drama, and social media. Jenni lives in Southern California with her husband and two daughters.