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Which model of Kindle e-reader would you recommend for a child?

I'm considering buying my 10-year-old daughter a Kindle as she loves reading and we can't keep up giving her paper books! Which model would you recommend, the Paperwhite or an older one?

Seeking Opinion E-books 3 years ago

1 expert and 1 parent have answered

expert answer
Chris Sutton expert
Chris Sutton Founder eLearn. Education Design Eumundi, AU
Education expert

I have been a teacher of children of your child's age. I'm a parent and grandparent and I'm an online learning specialist and educational designer. I use electronic books and paper books. Electronic books for working, paper books for recreational reading. I am an author and an avid reader. I now use audio books for reading at night because computers have affected my vision. So that is where I coming from.

I don't believe it really matters which model of Kindle you buy. The important thing is that you consider all of the effects that putting a Kindle into her hands will have. I'm not a great fan of online books for young children. If we want our children to grow up with a love of books and reading - as your child evidently has - we need to put real books in their hands. There is more than text involved in loving books - there's the feel, the smell, the experience of turning the page that cannot ever come from the current electronic books.

You should also consider the effect on a child's growing body. Constant reading from a backlit screen is not good for young eyes. Reading is not a 'short look at the screen, then look away, move you eyes around the screen', activity. It is an intense, long, concentrated activity. Children who love reading spend hours with their head in a book. Readers read every word, they don't scan, the savour the story and use their imagination to see the characters in their heads. Our children need imagination, thinking skills and concentration.

Before you go investing in a Kindle, think long and hard. If paper books are becoming too expensive, join a library, go to book swap shops. Part of reading is making the journey to choose a book. The physical journey and the intellectual journey. Flipping through the pages, checking out the first and past page. They are all part of reading.

I am so happy that your child loves reading. Please consider carefully before you take away the very things that have given her that love.

3 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Erin Miller Cash
Erin Miller Cash Mom, minister's wife and more! Lexington, Kentucky

I get it! I really do. We decided to get our 9 year-old a Kindle Fire HD this year for Christmas. (Shhhhh... don't tell her!) Ultimately, we decided to go electronic for a few reasons:

1) she rarely reads a whole book at a time and enjoys having several books to choose from at any time; the e-book format gives her the flexibility to carry multiple books without overloading her.

2) The Fire HD has a good amount of parental controls built in to the system itself. On just about any system you can install apps that will do this, but we liked the idea that the device is built for parents to be involved; we trust that it will work more smoothly than some of the add-on apps might have worked.

3) Our daughter will not read at length right now. She simply does not want to hold a book and read. However, when we loan her one of our kindles, she will read an entire book, cover to cover. I think what's going on here is that she's not intimidated by the length of the book, the size of the print, etc. when she sees only a page at a time. She has always been a lover of books and stories; she just wants us to read them to her. With the e-reader she is much happier to read alone!

4) We like Amazon. Plain and simple. My husband and I both have Kindle Touch devices and love them. We love that the platform works directly with Amazon and not through an app. We've been happy with our purchases and so decided to stay with the same brand/family for her.

5) If you are concerned about the backlight and a child's vision, I'd recommend the Kindle Touch; it has the e-ink and is not a backlit screen. The downside to this is of course that you can't read in the dark, but if you're worried about vision fatigue, you don't want a child reading in dim light anyway!

Ultimately, I think you have to trust your own instinct on whether or not an e-reader is right for a child. For us, it actually instills MORE of a love of reading than a paper book does. While I grew up reading paper books and still did until just a year or two ago, I've gone 100% cold turkey on the e-book! I am an AVID reader and never thought I'd enjoy reading without the smell, feel, etc. of a book in my hand. Now -- I don't even enjoy going to bookstores! I'd much rather browse the library's e-catalog to find something I enjoy. I find it more fulfilling, easier to find something that suits me (recommendations from other readers are hard to get at a brick-and-mortar store!), and free! :)

So, to answer your question directly, you could do a Fire HD if you want more of a tablet that includes e-reader features, a Kindle Touch if you want e-ink and no backlight, or the new Paperwhite if you are concerned about obsolescence before the child is finished with it. I hope that helps!

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Opinion 3 years ago

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