A few years ago, hardly anyone had eBook readers, but now they’re becoming a household staple, at least amongst families who read. More and more kids are picking up their parents’ devices and asking for kindles or nooks of their own.
Children may just want them because they look cool, but there are real benefits. Struggling readers can have the devices read aloud as they’re following along. Kids can look up new words they come across with the push of a button. And, of course, the storage capacity makes it easy to take dozens of books along on car trips and other adventures.
With prices coming down, parents are finding e-readers affordable enough to give to children. But which one is right for your youngster?
Let’s take a look at what’s out there and what’s appropriate for children of various age groups.
Ebook readers for young kids
If you have youngsters who are learning to read but aren’t yet ready for the responsibility (read: break-ability) of a kindle or nook, you could look into some of the new readers being specifically designed for children. These don’t require knowledge of the internet (similarly to video game systems, “books” can be loaded in via removable cartridges) or comfort navigating an online bookstore. They’re also designed with kids in mind: colorful covers, large buttons, and sturdy cases.
One example is the Vtech Flip, a reader for preschool-age children. It looks similar to a grownup’s device, but it has a see-through flip-top cover and colorful buttons and a border. Also, it can be purchased for only $50. Cartridges allow you to load a mix of modern favorites (Shrek, Toy Story) and kids’ classics (The Little Engine That Could). Lots of bells and whistles add a new layer to the reading experience and help keep young minds engaged.
For slightly older children, try the same company’s V.reader, which features a USB port and SD memory card slot for expansion.
Ebook readers for older kids
By eight or nine, a child is probably going to be able to handle the care of a regular “for adults” device. This opens up the whole world of ebooks to them (though you’ve still got the credit card, so you can monitor what kids are buying).
While every child would doubtlessly be tickled with an iPad, lots of more affordable options are available. Look to Amazon, Sony, Barnes & Noble, and Borders for readers that come in under the $150 mark.
Readers for the whole family
If you want to invest a little more and buy a single e-reader that the family can share, something appropriate for kids and adults, you might consider an Apple iPad or the Barnes & Noble color nook. Both devices can display illustrated children’s ebooks as well as all your favorites. The iPad comes with a steep price tag, but it allows movie watching, music listening, and game playing as well as book reading. Many of the apps in the Apple store are tailored for entertaining and educating children (and there’s lots of fun stuff for grownups too!).