Would a Kindle encourage my eight-year-old reluctant reader?
I am thinking of buying him a Kindle for his ninth birthday, only thing is he is not much of a reader. And I really want to inculcate the habit of reading. We have a huge library at home, but he has hardly picked up any books from there. Could Kindle change that?
11 people have answered
I'd be surprised if a Kindle was the answer but first you would need to find out what the barrier to his reading interest is. Perhaps he just isn't a reader or perhaps the books you have don't hold any appeal. It could be that he prefers more interactive books - try making his own book with him through simple structures and photography on an adventurous day out or ask him to give you a tour of a book shop.
Young children fall in and out of love with books. Provided he knows it's not a life-requirement then let him (or gently help him) discover them in his own way. There are some great adventure games which might be more his bag - Sam & Max and Day of the Tentacle spring to mind.
Some, but not all, children love Kindles. I'd only get him one if he has already expressed an interest. Have you tried audio books? My son is 9 and has really gotten into reading over the last year and it's mainly been audio books which have sparked his interest in stories. here are some of his recommendations: http://turtleofhappiness.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/top-5-audio-books-for-kids/
I think there are some benefits to kindles for reluctant readers. You can increase text size on screen and there isn't an offputting amount of book to be read visible as there can be with physical volume. It certainly should be considered as one possible answer.
How about creating a reading/playing time for the family? Have a designated place where everyone sits down for 15 minutes to read a book or play. The family members that like reading can pick up a book, while the others play around.
Then the ones that read can exchange a few comments about their books. From time to time try different books that might appeal to your child, so as he/she listens on, she might start picking up the interest.
If it's just your kid, you and your wife, take turns, one plays with your kid, the other reads. Always keep it awesome for the little one so he associates fun with books.
You could also include activities like staging a play (from a book of course) with sock puppets.
Over time those 15 minutes might turn into an hour or more!
A Kindle would make material more accessible and, certainly, is invaluable for getting information on an unknown word or phrase instantly. However, that is starting from a point of loving to read.
I also love technology, but were I a reluctant reader the novelty of that would soon wear thin. Unless the audio option and being read to at night, say, might coax a reluctant reader to listen then be intrigued enough to want to tackle the written word him/herself.
But I am sure those who advocate finding out WHY are on the right track and is what I would spend time trying to find out.
I have two thoughts. One is a piece that I wrote for my blog back in January 2011 that answers questions about the pros / cons of screen reading. http://family-bookshelf.org/soapbox-series-does-everything-have-to-have-a-screen/
The other (which I thought I wrote about) is based on personal experience. My then rising 5th grader had 1 required reading book for the summer. Russell Freedman's Lincoln. We got the e-book / Kindle version because we have to nudge her to read, and she enjoys screen reading. But that was enough to entice her. In the end, she preferred the traditional print version and devoured it.
Well I am a librarian, and from experience I would say that a kindle (the basic one that doesn't have apps) isn't likely to encourage a reluctant reader to read more. The only thing that I have found that will encourage a reader is to find books they are passionate about. I would try and get a librarian to do a readers advisory interview with your child. See what tv shows they like and try to find books along those lines. You could even try to figure this out yourself. I'm including a link to a readers advisory questionnaire:
Try to find books with amazing reviews, especially by other children his age. Also, see if he would enjoy audiobooks. There are some amazing audiobooks out there!
I speak on Motivating Reluctant Readers across the Nation. Go and check out my 1 hour webinar on my LinkedIn page www.linkedin.com/drrobfurman.
What several people are saying is correct, however, the most important thing to consider is the why question. Why is your child being reluctant. If the answer is that he/she is being judged on their choice of reading material then an E-reader is perfect. If they crave independence, again E-reader is good for giving them an opportunity to purchase books independently. However, that is one of so many reasons why the child may be reluctant.
Here is a question to ask yourself. Has your child ever watched an adult read for pleasure? Do you read in front of your child? When I ask that question in my presentations you should see the response. Parents read after their children go to bed. Teachers don;t read their favorite novel during the school day. So when has your child ever seen an adult read? Children look at us as hypocrites.
Make sure YOU are not modeling the habits of a reluctant reader also.
Go check out that webinar for more information. I also have a book coming out with the same title this fall.
I used to sit down near my daughter while she was playing something quiet, like blocks. I would begin reading a book and read until I got to a part that I knew would catch her interest and then I stopped, put the book down and told her that if she wanted to know what happened, she'd have to read it herself. It worked like a charm and she is now a voracious reader.
Again with the double posting! Quibly please fix that!
I was having this same discussion with a parent at work today. My advice was to find a book or books that the her child likes and go from there. All it takes is one book to encourage a child to read, begin to love and reading and to keep reading.