Growing Bookworms – Digital versus print books for children

This month’s topic for Growing Bookworms is Digital versus print books for children. What is your preference? Thank you to Kaye Lynne Booth for hosting me.

Writing to be Read

I have been giving some thought lately to book marketing, especially the marketing of books aimed at children. While selling more books is obviously of interest to me as a writer of children’s book, I am also interested in the most advantageous ways of imparting information to, and developing a love of learning and reading in, young children. This duel interest led me to an investigation of electronic books and the pros and cons of children reading using an electronic platform like a computer or an app on a tablet.

I wanted to know, firstly, if children were interested in reading ebooks.

The answer to that first question was a resounding yes, children are definitely interested in reading ebooks. Modern children are surrounded by technology and it is becoming more and more central to their lives. Lately, not only do children use cell phones and tablets to communicate with each…

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27 thoughts on “Growing Bookworms – Digital versus print books for children

  1. With our grandson (age 6), real books are very important. He spends a lot of time playing video games or watching films, but he still loves to settle down and read a real book. His reading is so good in fact that he was ‘moved up’ to a higher level when he went back to school this week,
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. I read this post with great interest, Robbie. My grandson, age 11, is a total bookworm and also loves anything technical, but so far, he hasn’t got a kindle. Perhaps when he’s a bit older, he will get one, and I’m sure he will love that just as much as real books.

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    1. Hi Elizabeth, I am sure he will enjoy a kindle. It is a very convenient way to read. I have become used to reading on a kindle even though I was quite opposed to the idea initially. I have set up your post and emailed you the link which will go live on Saturday.

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  3. I was also opposed to e-books initially but wouldn’t know what to do without mine now. On the other hand, I think some types of books, those with images or plenty of photographs are better in paper, but of course, interactivity has become important, and it depends on how good the electronic version is, as screens nowadays are fantastic. Thanks for the post, Robbie, and for bringing up this topic.

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    1. Hi Olga, thank you for adding your thoughts. I also find a kindle so convenient. Easy to travel with and very space economical. I have been buying paperbacks of all the classics lately to add to my 3,000 book collection. I have so many books, I am forced to be selective with paperback purchases but there are times when I cannot help myself.

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  4. Such an interesting post Robbie and very thought-provoking. I definitely like the idea of sitting with a real book with young children. I think it’s important for them to see the pages turn and the illustrations and to feel a warm body next to them reading. But when children become independent readers I think a print book is not as important. My 12-year-old grandson is a voracious reader and so for Christmas I gave him a Kindle and you’d think I’d given him 12 bars of gold. In fact, I just sent him an e-book as a gift after I read a book review of Amari on Patricia Tiltin’s children’s blog. It’s a wonderful way for grandparents to stay connected with a grandchild who lives far away.

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    1. Hi Pam, that is a wonderful idea and it is a marvelous way to stay connected. People [in general] often say that the modern youngsters don’t read, but the children and grandchildren of all the bloggers I know read. Reading is something that has to be cultivated and it has always only been certain people who do that. I don’t think anything has really changed in the world in this respect.

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  5. You touched on all the pros and cons of eBooks and print books, Robbie. I think for younger children such as toddlers, print books are good. My granddaughters started with vinyl and cloth books as infants, then board books at one or two years old. By the time Autumn was careful enough (2 1/2) to turn the pages gently, she read regular books, mostly hardcover.

    As you pointed out about the parents’ concern about screen time, Autumn hasn’t started reading eBooks yet. When I taught preschool, I read to the students. In kindergarten, students wanted me to repeat reading some of the books and I started playing the audio while flipping the pages.

    Autumn wants to read the books over and over again until she memorizes the books, then she read those books aloud on her own. So for the toddlers up to pre-school (or kindergarten), it’s good to have print books for them to handle on their own without turning on the computer. So I would say, it depends on the ages of the children.

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    1. Hi Miriam, thank you for sharing your experiences with Autumn. I remember pictures of her with the soft material books. I also had those for my boys. Ours had different textures to feel and experience. I agree that hard copy books are better for very young children as touching the book, smelling the ink on paper and turning the pages is part of the learning experience.

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  6. Very thoughtful discussion both here in comments and in your original essay. My granddaughter is 13 and a voracious reader. She prefers real books since she has to do so much school work on line and gets a headache from the screen time.

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    1. Hi Elizabeth, I am always thrilled to know young people read. I was a huge reader myself and I still am. I read on my kindle because I read so many books I have no more space for them and it is more environmentally friendly.

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  7. My 6 year old son is just beginning to read and I found some beginning readers on Epic (getepic.com) He’s been enjoying reading the Mr. Putter and Tabby series. For read aloud times we use physical books and enjoys both formats.

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  8. I have recently gotten acquainted with an ‘e’reader. I still like books. When I was caring for my grands I limited tech and TV.

    However… tech and TV are something, unless one makes a concerted effort to eliminate – is what the newer generations are adapting too. And are advancing by leaps and bounds beyond what ‘Grama’ can offer.

    One thing I enjoyed doing was helping my grands create their own books. They would draw and I would write down the words of their descriptions. Until they got older and could do that themselves.

    It has been a hard year for some being unable to be in the classroom. My grands were in the classroom. But parents were given the choice for tech schooling and I think about half took up that option.

    I think it is important to have different options. Thanks for your post. I’m going to forward that one link to free books to my SIL who is a teacher. 😀

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    1. Hi Jules your experience and thoughts are very interesting. I limited technology when my sons were young and they never had any computers or ipads until they were 4 and then it was only for short periods. Sadly, I now no longer have that sort of control as Greg is already 18 and Mike is 15. They both do read though and also do some other things. It’s not only technology and computer games for them.

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      1. While I think we had some type of computer games I didn’t allow that big gaming system. My parents wanted to get it for them and I said they can have those type of games when they had their own places. 😉

        I think there is a sad loss though having every thing at ones fingertips. I used to like going through card catalogs for research.

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