Education

It’s summertime and reading is easy with e-books

As temperatures rise and the days lengthen, are you dreaming about lazy, summer days, lounging on the beach or relaxing in a hammock reading a great summer book? How about your children, do they read throughout the summer or take a vacation from books?

Summer reading helps children maintain the academic progress they achieved in the school year. It is also a great time to encourage kids to read for fun. Research shows that they are more likely to read a book that they choose. So have them pick an interesting book and then suggest making it an e-book to change their summer reading into a new and exciting experience.

Just as they embrace all the new technology, children are quickly adopting this form of book reading. According to the Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report, the percentage of children who have read an e-book has almost doubled in the past three years, rising to 46 percent, and they say they are keen to read more. Almost half of the children aged 6 to 17 told the researchers that they would read more books for fun if they had greater access to e-books. More books for fun? That is music to a parent’s ears.

The Scholastic data also showed that 25 percent of boys who had read an e-book were now reading more books for fun. That is fantastic news for a group who tends to read less as they age. E-books could be a boon to your efforts to keep your boy reading regularly for pleasure.

What if your child is a reluctant reader? This is a group that can benefit from e-books because they are often intimidated by larger books and the appearance of a text-heavy page. E-books are read on slim devices that display a single page and offer the option to increase the type size. My 11-year-old son loves that the e-reader tracks his progress. Like the children in the study, he is motivated to see the percentage read increase on the screen instead of being discouraged by seeing the volume of a print book that remains to be read despite expending considerable time reading.

Two e-book attributes children say they like are portability and privacy. The ability to carry multiple books offers the opportunity to move to the next book when they complete one, or switch books if the current one loses their interest. What a great tool to have when traveling. Children commented in the study that they were also fond of the fact that with e-books they can hide what they are reading from friends. Admit it, sometimes we all read things we might not want our friends to see.

Are your eyes glazing over at the thought of introducing yet another pricey device into your home and budget? E-reading does not have to break the bank. There is an e-reader option to suit most budgets, and you can borrow books from the library without ever leaving your home. Some libraries even loan the devices. The best part about borrowing e-books from your library? No late fees. Once your borrowing period expires, the file is no longer accessible on your device. The first time you borrow an e-book you have to download the required software but the process is relatively simple.

You can begin e-reading today without an outlay of cash if you use technology that you may already own, such as a cellphone, iPod, iPad, tablet, laptop, or computer. Download an e-book app and you can begin to buy or borrow books. Take note that for summer reading on the beach or deck, many of these back-lit devices do not perform well in direct sunlight due to the glare, but an e-reader is fine.

Despite its many merits, e-reading is not likely to replace print books for all uses. Nothing surpasses the joy of snuggling and reading to your child at bedtime, no matter what their age. Children in the study echoed that sentiment and said they still preferred a paper book at bedtime. That is probably a wise choice, since exposure to lit devices can delay the onset of sleep, not at all what we parents are looking for at bedtime.

Sue LeBreton is a health and wellness journalist and an avid reader. Thanks to her e-reader, she carries a library with her wherever she goes.

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