eBooks for Children and Learning

Children’s eBooks are becoming more available at your local library. The title list is burgeoning, and it is only the beginning! Everything from picture books, easy readers, chapter books, even nonfiction has been converted to eBook style, and can easily be borrowed to your eReader with a click of your mouse on your local library’s website!

eReaders are given as gifts, incentives, and for many more reasons. But have you considered the impact the reader may make on your child? How can you use an eReader to its best advantage beyond borrowing and loading?

The method of learning on an eReader is not merely different than the traditional book; learning the technical details in and of itself is a skill, and coupling this with reading comprehension creates twice the work.

According to author Lisa Guernsey, (Why eReading With Your Kid Can Impede Learning, on Time.com) parents happily guide their children through the technical use of an eReader, but comprehension of the reading material is overshadowed, neglected and suffers. Children can be left with a less homogenous understanding of the story, and this may affect their overall mastery of reading and comprehension.

So what can you do to support their efforts? Minimizing commands, both from you and from the eReader, can help a child grasp the material more thoroughly. Conversational interaction, or, chatting about the material, can be critical to learning. Allowing the child a chance to be thoughtful about the story helps the story sink in for better understanding. Ask her questions about what she thinks may happen next; talk about the situation in the story. Have fun! This effort remains the best tool for reading and comprehension in both paper books and electronic ones.

Also, let her control the device. Explore with no agenda, as this allows her to become acquainted with it and “own” it. Hold back directions from you and be patient.

Then pat yourself on the back for assisting your child to face future reading challenges by breaking down the comprehension barrier of traditional reading and electronic reading!

Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian
Head of Youth Services
CCLD, Central Library