How Technology Has Changed the Way Children Discover Books
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that computers have affected how we learn—how could sitting in front of a screen all day not alter the way our brains work?
For kids on the verge of learning how to read, this can be a difficult time for parents to sit down and use old methods for engagement, but resulting just to technology is not the way either. Instead, reach a happy medium between a regular bedtime reading session, supplemented with interactive games, traveling libraries, and opportunities for your child to learn new vocabulary with
Combats Shorter Attention Spans
Adults aren’t the only ones experiencing a change in attention. It’s filtering all the way down to the kids as well, and recognizing that children engage differently today than they did ten years ago is the answer to making great things happen.
From targeting our insecurities to sensory overload, the technology age and too much screen time has scientists believing our attention spans have dialed all the way down to 8 seconds. And for kids that are spending 6-12 hours in front a screen per day, it’s a lesson in how damaging technology can be to our concentration.
The good news is that Google’s vice president of research, Alfred Spector, has discoveries to be optimistic about; according to research, even average students can move to the top 2 percent of the class if they find a tutor or tools that can match the student’s thinking and learning style. With millions of avenues for discovery out there (thank you, apps!), this can be a great sign for your new reader.
Makes Reading Accessible
The days of spending hours at the library between the stacks, discovering new authors and new favorites aren’t behind us, partially because even libraries have updated with on-the-go, modern features such as e-books where you can check out library books for free online with the help of a VPN. But the great thing about the tablet is kids don’t have to leave the books, they can take them wherever they go.
Kid-friendly tablets range from the nabi DreamTab and Amazon Fire HD to the Kurio Xtreme 2 and Sprout Channel, and each is good for different learning levels. While the nabi and the Amazon Fire are outfitted for the older set, the Kurio and Sprout Channel are optimized for younger kiddos just getting started. Check out this parental guide from Top 10 Reviews for a breakdown of each device.
Engages with Apps
Kids already have a natural affinity for the tablets, so why not let them explore helpful games while they are enjoying some self-guided screen time? From learning vocab words to building storylines, these apps are kid tested for being fun, engaging and an excellent method for learning.
– Endless Alphabet: Use this app to help children learn valuable vocabulary words.
– Pango Free: Kids get the chance to interact with stories by shaking and jiggling characters to change the plotline.
– Encyclopedia Britannica: You can trust that when they have “what” or “why” questions that this classic tool is going to give them the correct facts every time.
– Playtales: If bilingual (trilingual or multilingual as well) is something you’re interested in, this app allows you to get movies in up to eight different languages, helping to bridge the gap and start kids with a new language.
– MeeGenius: With over 700 titles and new authors every day, children can learn by reading aloud themselves or letting the app be the king of story time with read-along options.
– Hop On Pop: Favorite author Dr. Seuss gets an app upgrade with this read-along app that helps kids recognize key vocabulary words through highlighting. Also has great read along voice recordings to make reading alone more fun.
Although all of these instantly gratifying tools for helping your child learn to read are awesome, they also should come with a bit of warning. Like anything, limitations are a great thing, so just make sure your kid has plenty of down time between play sessions, gets plenty of good exercise and stays hydrated throughout their time on the tablet. That way they can focus on their studies while they’re inside on the screen, and then play to their hearts content elsewhere—something scientists also say is vital to the learning process and a great help to promoting literacy!
Author Bio: Caroline is a blogger who splits her time between writing about entertainment and reading her way through the stacks at Barnes and Noble. Whether it’s written or watchable, great storytelling is her weakness, and she’s out to share the written (and spoken) word with the world. You can find her on Twitter @CultureCovC.