Can eBooks for Children Really Help them Learn to Read?
The Children’s Book Review presents a guest post by Jeanette McLeod, Founder of http://www.wizz-e.com – bringing the magic of books to life.
Every parent wants the best start in life for their child and there is no better gift to give a child than teaching them to learn to read. Numerous studies have shown that reading more to our children and having them read more increases literacy rates and improves vocabulary. However, in today’s busy lives we as parents cannot always spend as much time as we would like sharing books with our children. Statistics show that to be on grade level, a 5 year old should have had 1000 hours of reading exposure before they reach school – that is half an hour every day each year for every year they have been alive!
What else can you do to increase children’s exposure to books?
- Now there is another exciting medium to get kids reading more – digital books. These are not meant as a replacement to paper books but another way to expose children to reading. There have been some huge leaps forward in the development of digital books for children, especially those that have been designed around how kids learn to read. Now there are eBooks that read the child the story whilst highlighting the words to teach children about fluency, left-right reading, and improve sound/word recognition.
- eBooks can also be used later as the child becomes an independent reader. Children can try and sound out a word whilst they are reading, without having to wait for adult intervention. If they get stuck they can hear it spoken by clicking on the word.
- Children learn by repetition and we all know how kids can want the same story over and over again! With eBooks they can listen to the story a number of times and learn the associations between the sounds and the words.
- Rather than being an entertainment medium, eBooks also include a comprehension/memory quiz to ensure the child has listened and understood the story. No special or expensive reading device is needed, they can be downloaded straight to your PC.
As a parent myself, I know how much my kids love to spend time on the computer. Now they can use screen time in an enjoyable and educational way. Having picture books that really come to life with animated illustrations is just magical. Even reluctant readers are engaged. However, eBooks should be seen as complimentary and not a replacement to paper books — nothing can replace the bond that is created between a parent/carer and child when cuddled up with a book. But increasing your child’s exposure to reading will enhance their literacy skills. Now screen time can be educational as well as fun. But don’t tell the children!
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