If I had to pick a few words to describe myself, “reader” would undoubtedly be one of them. But that wasn’t always the case. Due to some unfortunate events in my early elementary years, several of my classmates and I didn’t learn to read. Thankfully, a very observant third grade teacher named Mr. Bowen recognized our deficiency, worked tirelessly to get us caught up, and helped me flourish as a reader.
This indelible experience instilled in me a life-long love for reading that not only shaped my own life, but also informed my decision to encourage my kids to discover the love of reading as well.
Here are some reasons why you should consider making reading a priority for your kids.
The Benefits of Reading for Kids
Successful people read. According to Business Insider, people like Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway magnate), Bill Gates (former Microsoft CEO), and Phil Knight (founder of Nike) read voraciously.
According to an article on Healthline entitled Benefits of Reading Books: How It Can Positively Affect Your Life, “Reading is very, very good for you.” In a recent article touting the benefits of reading, experts suggest that reading has the following benefits:
- improves brain connectivity
- increases your vocabulary and comprehension
- empowers you to empathize with other people
- aids in sleep readiness
- reduces stress
- lowers blood pressure and heart rate
- fights depression symptoms
- prevents cognitive decline as you age
- contributes to a longer life
The article continues by extolling the benefits of reading for kids. “It’s especially important for children to read as much as possible because the effects of reading are cumulative,” it emphasizes. It’s a great reminder to get your kids reading early.
The Benefits of E-Readers
But with the advent of the Internet and the tech explosion, reading looks a little different than it did when I was a kid. Where I had to make trips to the library or the bookstore to feed my reading appetite, my kids have access to a treasure trove of books, right at their fingertips.
We live with an abundance of information. With access to online sources, we can do more, learn more, access more, and communicate more. We can also be more distracted, more isolated, more disconnected, and more uninformed. Our kids especially face the temptation to waste countless hours gaming, scrolling social media, and loitering on messaging apps.
With all the benefits of reading still in play, why not leverage the benefits of tech with the benefits of reading and get the best of both worlds: reading on tech? It doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, history or current events, reading books on e-readers can be a great way to instill the love of reading with an innate love of tech.
Here are some of the benefits of e-readers:
- E-readers are convenient. When in the history of ever have kids been able to carry around entire libraries and bookstores in their pockets? I used to be a paper and binding purist. But for the last few years I’ve gone almost entirely to an e-reader. Now, I can enjoy a variety of books on a park bench, a train seat, or even on my treadmill while I run. If we want to get our kids reading, e-readers make it easy.
- The Kindle e-reader can read out loud. One of the best benefits of Kindle e-readers is their ability to read aloud. This recent discovery changed my life. If you have a Kindle app loaded with your favorite books, just download the Amazon Alexa app to hear those books read out loud. Granted, hearing Alexa read the text takes a little getting used to. But once you become accustomed to the electronic cadence and intonations, you can listen to your favorite books for hours. This has become my go-to while driving around town. Your kids can enjoy this feature too.
- The Kindle e-reader has subscription options. With a monthly fee, you can subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. This subscription gives you access to thousands of titles available on Amazon. The hardest part is narrowing down your selections to ten at a time. But once you check one back in, you can access another one. You can also subscribe to Amazon Kids to have access to kid-friendly books for all ages. You can even get classic board books for infants and toddlers on Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Kids. They may not have all the tactile appeal of their board book counterparts, but when you are on the go, why not open an electronic board book like Good Night Moon or Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to read with your child rather than turning to a YouTube video.
- E-readers have access to public libraries. Check with your local library system. Most offer check-out options for thousands of online books. There are national library systems as well as local library options available. Checking out books from an online library is easy and cost effective. All your kids need is a library card.
Encourage Your Kids to Read
Your kids will benefit from reading books—lots and lots of books. But now, those benefits are even more accessible through e-readers like the Kindle app. You can buy books for your kids, pay for book subscriptions, or check out books from the library. You can find books for young children and books for growing teenagers.
The key is to encourage your kids to read. Get books in their hands to help them learn and explore. And whether you want to stick with hard copies or give e-readers a try, helping your kids develop a love of reading from an early age will help them see dividends for years to come.