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Letting Kids Read Books on Digital Devices

Posted by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 12:00 PM
  • 7 Replies

A Case for Letting Kids Read Books on Digital Devices

by The Stir Bloggers

levar burton kids

The following is a guest blog from LeVar Burton.

With the debut of each new technology for storytelling, we hear ourselves worrying that this may finally be the "death of reading and of books." It happened with radio, TV, and now of course apps, video games, and all the other endless digital distractions. What will happen to reading ... to books? I have say, I don't share this concern. Storytelling is as old as mankind and really began around the fire when we were ancient hunter/gatherers. Humans need to share stories. From fireside stories to plays to movies and of course books, we have always had, and always will, have stories to tell. 

The technology for how we do it will change, but the need to read, to immerse ourselves in a shared story, will not.

Books themselves were a storytelling evolution that really only came into mass use over the last few hundred years. As we went from societies where only the very elite were capable or even allowed to read to near universal literacy, our capacity to read is now widespread. Similarly, books, once precious and expensive and relegated to religious institutions, have now been available to almost everyone for a reasonable cost and on nearly every subject. For children of the Digital Generation, they will continue to read as long we continue to create good stories. It’s not the medium, but the message that’s important. For 30 years Reading Rainbow focused on and created a passion for books, though it came to kids on their (then) device of choice, TV.

Whenever I am asked, "How do I get my kid to like reading?” I answer the same way ... "Let them read whatever they enjoy." Nowadays I amend that to say "and however they enjoy it." Whether it’s Harry Potter or superhero comics, whether in a printed book or on an app or e-reader, just encourage them to read the things they like. The "important" will come later only if, while young, they find success and pleasure reading anything now. It has never been the medium, it has always been the message. But you don't have to take my word for it.

LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow’s mission is to inspire a love of reading in children and connect them to the world they live in through quality literature so they believe that they can “go anywhere, be anything.”

Learn more about Reading Rainbow and the free Reading Rainbow App at

Do your kids read on electronic devices or do they prefer books?

What about you?

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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Replies (1-7):
by Group Admin on Nov. 13, 2013 at 12:39 PM
1 mom liked this

 I totally agree with Levarr Burton!! (Love him!)  That said, I prefer books that smell so yummy like must and paper and knowledge.  Yeah, total bibliophile! And my kids prefer books too!

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 2:53 PM

 My kids love both & I like it that way! For a struggling reader an e-read or tablet is great because all they have to do is click on a word giving them trouble & they can see the definition & how to pronounce it & on some devices hear how it is pronounced!

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 2:57 PM

 For me I love both! I use my tablet to read to my children at night so we can have the over head light out & I don't have to worry about the battery's in a book light going out! I also love audio books for those times that you can't read a book or for long car rides with the family!

by Bronze Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 3:01 PM

My son loves both. He is only 3.5 but his bookshelf is overflowing(my fault!) he LOVES the bookstore but he also has a bunch of animated stories on his iPad. His favorite being Peter Rabbit.

by Silver Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 7:32 PM

I love books, the smell, the feel, just everything about them.  That being said, I love having 100's of books right in one place.  So I love both.  DS is still mainly into books.  He says it feels weird trying to read electronic ones.  We do both love audio books for long car rides though.

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 9:25 PM

DD (4) does lots of reading on the ipad.  I downloaded several read-along books for her, they've been great in advancing her reading!

by on Nov. 14, 2013 at 7:00 PM

 My ds likes to read on electronic devices instead of books.  As long as he is reading books, I am fine with it.

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