Technology is everywhere. Whether we like it or not, it intersects with nearly all aspects of our daily lives and it influences the types of books our kids choose to read. There are two major types of books – paper books and ebooks for them to choose from. The question becomes, is one better than another? Let’s take a look at the ebook vs paper debate.
Ebooks are a type of book enjoyed on laptops, tablets and e-readers, and may seem a lot more interesting to a child than a paper book. Electronic books come with a wide variety of features; they have colorful photos and often an audio narrator, and they appear a lot more interesting than the old-fashioned type of book.
And yet, ebooks come with several disadvantages too. Since kids already spend too much time in front of their computers and smart devices, ebooks somehow foster their obsession with advanced technology.
Ebook vs Paper
Pros of Ebooks
Parents are concerned that their little ones spend too much time in front of a screen.
Does this mean that paper books are better than ebooks? Believe it or not, electronic books have their fair shares of benefits too.
1. Good quality ebooks help children develop their literacy skills a lot faster.
Important words are highlighted, and the pictures available foster their imaginative spirit helping them understand the story a lot better. Kids interact a lot better with the parents when the reading session takes place in calm, relaxing environment; and you’re holding up a flashy tablet and not a paper book.
Studies have shown that some children may interact better when reading e-books. Some kids may have difficulties reading certain words or interpreting certain situations. In this case, an ebook with lots of images and colors puts their imaginative spirit to the test. One study in particular, emphasized that ebook reading may improve vocabulary more than paper books. Electronic books can easily be read over and over again; turning the pages is fun on a tablet, so if your kid has forgotten the name of the main character he can easily swipe back and forth without too much hassle.
2. Advanced technology makes reading more interactive.
Ebooks tend to be more engaging than paper books. Holding a tablet and turning the pages is fun and enjoyable for kids. There are increased chances for your child to grab a tablet and read an ebook than a paper book from your living room’s bookcase.
You could also put this on the con side. Books are meant to be read and enjoyed in and of themselves, adding so much interaction can take away from the story and from the child using their mind to create images of their own.
3. Ebooks are incredibly accessible.
To get an ebook all you have to do is head over to Amazon.com and purchase an online variant of your kid’s favorite book. Then download them onto an iPad or e-tablet and let the fun begin! Studies have shown that kids learn more information when reading e-books because advanced technology is fun and more entertaining. Furthermore, ebooks are lightweight and they feature all kinds of funky designs that kids will adore.
4. Research proves that ebooks are good for kids.
Contrary to popular belief, ebooks are not that bad for kids. New research performed by LookTracker and MeeGenius emphasizes that ebook reading with highlighted text and recorded narration compels children to gaze longer at the words and remember the narrative a lot easier. Highlighted text draws more attention, and the more time readers spend looking at a word and hearing them out loud, the better chances they have to remember them.
Cons of Ebook Reading
But then again, many parents and even experts believe that ebooks are not good for the general health of your child.
1. Extra screen time.
Handing over a device for children to read an ebook just adds more screen time. Often the books are enhanced with moving images and interactive components. This just becomes more of a game than a child who is reading a paper book, using their mind and imaginations to control the story.
2. It’s also worth mentioning that ebooks are distracting.
Kids are more drawn by the advanced technology that comes with that iPad and less about the actual story. If you want to instill a passion for reading in your toddler, it’s best to teach him/her more about the importance of reading a paper book. Be their role model; read daily and make them curious to know more by reading them aloud.
3. Decreased interaction with other people.
If kids are getting all their answers from an ebook, their interaction with other people is significantly decreased. Discussing word meanings, characters, plot lines, etc encourages interaction and learning with others.
A Side Note: Some might also argue the point between ebook reading on a tablet like a Kindle Fire or iPad, as opposed to handing over a Kindle Paper White that is just for reading and designed to be more like a book (easier on the eyes and without all the glitz of a tablet). Choosing something like a Kindle Paper White can definitely remove some of the negative “screen time” connotations while still be able to enjoy the ease and accessibility of ebooks themselves.
Author Bio: Christopher Austin and LoveReading.co.uk!