I love to read. I usually have one book that I’m reading and yet another I’m listening to with my Audible app. Because of my passion for books, even before my son was born I knew that helping him learn to read would be a top priority. When he was just days old, I started a bedtime routine that included reading to my son. As he got older we worked on the alphabet, then sight words, then picture books. I went horse reading aloud from book 5 of the Harry Potter series. As a fantastic consumer and creator of fantastical tales, I could sense the passionate reader lurking somewhere in my son. However, as he shifted over to the ‘early readers’ category and the pictures disappeared and the page count grew, I could see that reading was becoming a chore. As a kid growing up in the digital age, I worried that his passion for stories might be limited to movies and videos.
Each afternoon he would devote 15-20 minutes of reading as requested of all the kids in his grade. He would do what he was asked but I never saw him get ‘lost’ in a book. Although his teachers were unconcerned, I started asking about ways to improve his reading stamina. I hadn’t started Googling for solutions but I could see that coming on the horizon.
Learning to Read: How Using a Kindle Turned My Son Into A Passionate Reader
Just as I started getting good and worked up about it, the good folks at Amazon offered me a Kindle for Kids bundle to try. The bundle includes the latest Kindle without sponsored screensavers, a kid-friendly cover, and a 2-year warranty provided by SquareTrade. Given that we already had the Kindle app on a variety of devices I wasn’t terribly optimistic about what the different format might do. I guessed that it might be a nice alternative for me to use when the glare on my other devices makes reading too difficult and not much more.
In fact, reading with a Kindle was exactly what my son needed to get off his reading plateau. Shortly after turning on the device and setting it up on wifi he found a book he wanted and wandered away. A while later when we needed to run an errand he begged me to bring the Kindle so he could read in the car. What?! Asking to bring a book along had never happened before. I guessed he might bring it along but not actually read with it. Nope. As we pulled out of the driveway he was reading away. A short while later he announced he had finished and was ready for the second book in the series. By the next day, he was close to finishing the third book in the series and was begging to stay up late to finish it.
Learning to Read: Intimidated Reader + Kindle =Passionate Reader
Hurray! As much as people decry the transition from traditional books to e-readers using a Kindle transformed my son into a passionate reader. I’m not sure if the number of pages in these books made them more intimidating when they were in book format. Perhaps the novelty of a device with a dictionary built right in made reading on it more enticing. Since the Kindle just contains books it is distraction free I know that works for us. –We have the Kindle app on other devices, but the lure of videos and games is too strong to make those useful for reading yet.
Less than a week after he started using his Kindle he finished the fifth book in the series. He is busy “researching” what series he should read next. I’m thrilled but also looking into how we can download books from the library and looking into Amazon subscription book program Amazon Unlimited. It never occurred to me that changing up the format would have such a profound effect on his interest and inclination to read.
Many thanks to Amazon for providing me with the Kindle bundle for Kids!