Raising Readers in the Digital Age: Resources for Parents Who Don’t Like to Read

by Rich on January 16, 2012 · 2 comments

This is a guest post from Karen Horvath.  Karen is a passionate reader and technology aficionado. She works in marketing for an online education company by day and by night uses technology to share her passion for books with her four-year-old granddaughter.  Say hello to her on Twitter @Karen4191 or check her out on YouTube!

 

I carry the world in my pocket, you probably do too.

Technology is no longer a marvel, it has become commonplace. If you have seen the 2010 documentary Babies, you may share my astonishment that the family in the yurt had cell phones.  A cell can be your child’s doorway into the wonderful world of reading.  Reach Out and Read (link below) will show why exposure to reading is so important for children.

I taught my daughter how to read. I was a home schooling mom for twelve years. She learned phonics with the help of a computer program called; “Sound It Outland”.  It was pretty simple, a song with cartoons that she could click and some simple action happened.  Phonics is the tool that opens the world of reading.  Once your child knows the sounds of the letters, they can read simple words. That program is no longer available, but there are countless others that work the same way.  Search your app store with the keyword “phonics”.  The Bob Books build on phonics skills; when my daughter was three she could read them. They begin with simple sentences; Mat sat on cat. These books are now available in an app for a fraction of the price of the physical books.

There are SO MANY wonderful reading opportunities available online. YouTube is a rich resource for young readers; I have a channel where I have posted iPhone videos of myself reading books. With a few simple searches you can find many wonderful videos of authors, even PBS shows adapted from books. Disney has an online reading service Disney Digital Books, with over six hundred interactive books. Your library probably subscribes to the service. Most libraries also provide free Wi-Fi on your own device.

You may have a relative that wishes to read to your child through technology. I read to my granddaughter over Facetime. I use my phone to show her the pictures and I can see her sweet little face on my screen. If you don’t have an Apple device you can use Skype or another service.

Barnes and Noble has the most to offer young readers. If you purchase a Nook Color, you will have access to the “Read to Me” feature.  Nook does a great job with bringing children’s books to the small screen, and many are available for less than five dollars.  With a Nook, your child can read many of the books for free an hour per day, per book by reading in a Barnes and Noble store. I purchased a Nook Color for $129 from Overstock.com.  For an additional $20-35, a micro SD card can “root” the Nook Color turning it into an Android Tablet.  Oddly, Amazon.com sells the Nook Root cards.  Your rooted Nook Color can run the Google Android Market Place, The Kindle App Store, and others, vastly increasing the available free app selection.

So, even if you wouldn’t call yourself a bookworm, you can still lead your child towards educational success.  I have included just a few options and links. Once you start searching and exploring, the reading world will open to you.  Happy Reading!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack January 19, 2012 at 1:11 am

Interesting article. I think part of the problem here also lies in the actual font&size chosen for such digital mediums. I dont see any research on this subject, but I think it is likely to be impactful and meaningful to us different learners. Is there any research out there on the subject of font size, type, and background color vs text? Any major takeaways to be learned about how best to digest info in the digital medium?

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Rich January 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Hi Jack – thanks for the comment! Interesting thoughts here on the size of font. We really wanted to be mindful to the exact topic you bring up, and hoped to make our text readable here on We Read Better. There are a ton of websites I’v seen that do a poor job of this. If you find any research, please do stop back and share with us here!

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