Technology That Gets Kids Reading Books Again

Getting Older Children to read

Getting reluctant readers back into books

For reluctant readers, using technology can be an excellent way to improve children’s reading and overall education. One thing I’ve noticed in the classroom in recent years is that whilst many children are reluctant to pick up a book and read it, hand them a gadget with a screen and they can’t keep their hands off.

Why don’t older children want to read books?

There is a psychological barrier that many children, particularly as they approach their teens, have with reading a book. It’s not an aversion to reading, but more to do with social acceptance.

In their teenage years, they are at an age where being socially acceptable is more important to them than at any other time of their lives. They have a need to fit in with their peers and the trendy kids at school.

This is why they demand only certain brands, have to style their hair in a particular way, listen to specific types of music and dress in similar ways to each other.

Truly, life can be devastating if they feel cast out of their social group for not conforming – and reading, unfortunately, is not seen as cool. It’s geeky, it’s what the swotty kids do. Not reading books can be part of the norm they have to conform to. So, to improve children’s reading we need to find a way around this problem.

The modern solution for reluctant readers

Thanks to technology, there is a solution. If you are the parent of a reluctant reader, then dangling an Amazon Kindle Fire HD in front of your child’s nose might be the perfect answer to improving their reading skills. Why? Well, although it has many of  the same features as an iPad or other tablet PC (they can surf the net, download thousands of apps, store and play all their music as well as play videos and watch movies) the primary function of the Kindle is as a book reader.

Improve children's readingThe Kindle makes reading cool. It removes the social barrier as there’s no turning of paper pages. Children see it more as ‘surfing a book’ or using a ‘book app’ rather than ‘boring reading’.

Of course, being made by Amazon, there are an almost endless number of books to be downloaded and read – and frequently cheaper than the physical version – all of which can be stored on the device itself. These include not only novels and stories but also graphic novels and other similarly formatted texts that your child might feel more comfortable reading. There are many educational and school textbooks available on Amazon, too. With an Amazon Fire, your child can carry around a whole library with them in one small package.

This might seem like an odd approach to improving children’s reading, but it works. I have seen it working in schools. Kids who wouldn’t be seen dead in a library will sit engrossed in the classroom, almost unaware that what they are doing is reading. E-readers remove the social barriers and at the same time provides a medium that young people prefer to use to read. This allows parents to help their children form good reading habits though those vital teenage years.

The Kindle also has one more trick up its sleeve – it allows children to listen to audio books. Whilst not as beneficial as actually reading a text, this can be extremely useful for older children who have to work their way through longer texts for school. A child who might take several weeks to get through a 200-page novel might find it much easier and quicker to listen to it through an audiobook. There are thousands of suitable audiobooks available for download, at very reasonable prices, from Audible, another Amazon company.

Like all good devices, the Kindle Fire HD offers you parental control over what your children can and can’t have access to. And the other big advantages? It’s significantly less expensive than an iPad and as it can also be used as a tablet PC there’s no need to buy another device. There’s also a new larger version available too.

Find out more about Kindle Fire HD here


All opinions in this review are our own, however, we may be compensated should you make a purchase through the links provided.

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