Parents Ask: Benefits of Children's EBooks

As the video above shows, children today are able to use new technologies, such as tablets, with amazing ease. As a result, these tools are quickly becoming the medium through which today's kids are learning and interacting. However, many parents are still hesitant to use tablets as a medium through which children can learn and read . It does not help that games like Angry Birds and Tiny Village encourage kids to spend hours looking at a screen without gaining any educational benefits or skills. However, there are several progressive companies within children's publishing that are striving to change this. These companies are coming up with innovative and new methods that allow children to connect to the story and digest information more easily than ever before.

Many eBooks include the following features to increase children's interaction, knowledge, and learning:

Read Aloud:
For children who have just begun to learn how to read, reading on their own can be a daunting and difficult process. Pronunciation and flow of reading can be obstacles that discourage and frustrate many young children who are trying to read. While many early eBooks included beautiful illustrations that engaged children, they did not provide a read aloud feature that allowed children to have the story read to them.

Most children's eBooks today offer the option for kids to read their book on their own or have it read aloud to them through the program itself. This option opens a lot of doors for young children who are learning how to read. Children now can not only learn new words, but hear how they are properly pronounced. The read aloud option helps both new and older readers alike. Younger readers can become more confident in their own reading ability by following the read aloud option while more experienced readers can test their skills by reading the book on their own and using the eBook features to help them if they need guidance.

Highlighting and Dictionary:
Whether their child is just starting to read or they are already an avid reader, many parents are concerned that their child does not understand the meaning of certain words in the text. This is a valid concern, because most children will not stop reading to find a definition of a word from another source. It simply takes too much time and interrupts the flow of their reading.

Children's eBooks are striving to solve this problem. Many eBooks now allow a child to learn the definitions of words within seconds. By simply clicking and highlighting the word they do not know, children are provided with the pronunciation and definition of the word they have chosen. In this way, eBooks help expand children's vocabulary and also allow them to have a better understanding of what they are reading

Sounds and music:
Earlier eBooks lacked special features such as sounds and music that enhance the reading experience for children. While it is not always necessary for a child to have a soundtrack that accompanies the material they are reading, special effects and music really do help them become more fully involved with the content.

Many eBooks today now come with a full soundtrack and sound effects that complement the story they are telling. Children are thus transported to the environment and setting of the story and can gain a deeper understanding of the plot's mood and tone. These special effects actually open children's eyes to what they are reading and allow them to become immersed in the world of the book.

Puzzles, Games, Apps, and more:
Older children's eBooks did not include interactive additions that complemented the content. Because of this, children were able to read the story but were not able to apply the knowledge they gained from the book in different ways. As a result, children lost the opportunity to expand and explore the ideas they had just read about.

Thankfully, children's eBooks commonly used today are integrating these features into their stories to help develop critical thinking and logic skills for kids at an early age. Color matching, spelling exercises, and memory games within the book allow children to practice various skills and engage with the story on a deeper level. Having these added features allow children to continue their learning process even after they have finished reading the story.

It is important to realize that the features mentioned above need to be contextually relevant and complement the story to develop children's literacy. In some cases, it can be beneficial to have added features that might be commonly thought of as distracting. For example, animation, sound effects, and music are great complements to a children's holiday book.

Take a look below to see how these features are included in children's eBooks:

Dina's Tea Time

Henry Hops Into Art

Children can now read, learn, and experience the world of books in ways that were never possible.

Kristen McLean, executive director of the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC), talks about the increasing integration of children and technology. She says,

[quote type="center"]"Participation, collaboration, intuitive problem-solving, critical thinking, mindful attention and radical creativity - these types of literacy will be equally important in the globally networked world. We want active and empowered readers who control media, not the other way around, and new technologies along with traditional reading experiences are going to shape the future reader. "[/quote]

In addition to engaging children through interactive applications, eBooks also introduce children to important computer and technology skills that are becoming vital in today's world.

With the rapid growth of social media and technology in our daily lives, even the youngest children are playing with their parents' Ipads, Kindles, Nooks, and other tablet interfaces with increasing ease. EBooks help children develop technology savvy skills in an educational, yet interactive and fun, manner.

The video demonstrates how children are using new technologies with great ease. In this way, they are developing the necessary interactive and technological skills they will need in their future.

In addition to the educational advantages, there are many other ways through which children (and their families) can benefit by using eBooks.

EBooks are less expensive.
While prices do increase depending on the features offered in the book, eBooks are generally offered at much lower prices. A traditional picture book for young children can cost anywhere from $7.99-$24.99. However, eBooks are offered for as little as $0.99 and are sometimes even free through promotional offers. This means that you can purchase more books for your child without spending extra money.

EBooks are portable.
The portability of eBooks cannot be contested. Whether you are traveling with your child or simply keeping them busy at a social gathering, eBooks can be taken with you easily from place to place. Plus, your child will never get bored, because you can bring your entire library of eBooks for them to browse through.

You can get eBooks instantly.
EBooks allow you to bypass the process of going to a store and buying a book. Save time by purchasing the eBook online and download it within minutes from virtually anywhere.

The numerous advancements made in children's eBooks are revolutionizing the world of reading for children. Through interactive games, puzzles, and sounds, children gain a reading experience that not only captivates them, but encourages them to engage with the content in a more meaningful way. Secondly, eBooks allow children to pick up important technological skills that they will need in their future. Lastly, EBooks are easy to obtain and fun to use, making them extremely accessible for parents and children alike. With the advancements in technology, children can now read, play, and learn while developing critical skills they will need in the future.