Reading is an essential skill. Not only does it allow us to connect, gain knowledge, and learn but also to immerse ourselves in imaginary worlds. Research has highlighted the many benefits of reading on child development, with kids who read having a larger and more extensive vocabulary. Children who read gain a deeper understanding of their world, develop empathy, and improve their social skills.
However, building a big collection of children’s books is not always possible. Space and storage constraints can limit the number of books available at home. Moreover, kids develop so quickly that it may seem wasteful to spend large sums of money on books that will only be relevant for a short period of time. Libraries are a treasure trove of reading resources, but access to a library may not always be possible.
Ebooks as an alternative
There is a multitude of ebook apps and devices that can be used to access reading resources. As a parent, you may have concerns about your child using a device such as a tablet for reading.
You should weigh a number of factors when deciding what device to buy for your child. You might consider allowing them to use a regular tablet or a mobile phone to access books.
One aspect to take into account when choosing a reading device is whether you want it to be used exclusively for reading or you’d also like it to offers other functionalities, as a tablet does.
All about the Kindle
If you’re concerned about distractions from other apps, games, online videos, and social media, you may want to consider a Kindle. Unlike tablets, this device is purpose-built for reading.
The classic Kindle has a black and white glare-free screen and can store over 1,000 books. The screen has a gentle backlight that can be adjusted, so the device can be used in low light conditions. A single charge can last for up to 4 weeks depending on the light settings and wireless usage. There are a number of Kindle models designed specifically with kids in mind.
Kindle Kids is recommended for children from the age of 7 and is ideal for both beginner and more experienced readers of chapter books. It’s also fitted with parental controls. By accessing the parent dashboard, you can adjust the age filters for content, add books to the library, and view your child’s reading progress.
The Kindle Kids has a 2-year warranty to cover any defects. It’s available in a variety of cover colors and designs that close magnetically to ensure that the screen is protected.
Kindle Kids has a few other handy features, including:
- A built-in dictionary adds searched words to a “vocabulary builder” set of flashcards.
- “Wise words” on many English titles provide short definitions of difficult words to help kids read with fewer interruptions.
- It offers access to over 1,000 audiobooks on Audible, which will allow your kids to switch between reading and listening to their story.
Looking for kid-friendly tablets?
Designed with school kids in mind, the Fire 7 Kids Pro Tablet is great for children aged 6+. Measuring 7 inches in size, it’s the most compact of all the Fire tablets. All Fire Pro models come with a slim kid-friendly case complete with a built-in stand and a 2-year warranty. The browser is designed with safety in mind, featuring built-in controls to help filter out inappropriate content and block specific sites.
If you’re serious about environmental issues, you’d be happy to know that the Fire Kids Pro tablet was made with sustainability in mind. A portion of the case and packaging are fashioned from recycled materials, and the device has improved energy efficiency. Amazon Second Chance also allows you to explore ways of trading in or recycling your tablet in the future.
Parental controls let you set limits and goals, view usage and browser history, and enable the digital store, web browser, and call feature. Kids can send announcements and make voice and video calls over wi-fi to approved contacts.
What to consider when choosing between a Fire tablet and a Kindle
The Kindle Kids is only an e-reader, while the Fire Kids Pro is an entry-level Android tablet. Here are some differences and similarities to consider:
- Screen: The screen of a Kindle is created to replicate the feel of a book as closely as possible. It’s non-reflective and anti-glare, similar to paper. It’s also monochromatic, so it doesn’t show colors. The Fire Kids Pro tablet has an LCD screen, so it’s full color, but just as in other devices, such as smartphones and laptops, it will be a reflective screen.
- Appearance: As both of these devices are made with kids in mind, they are durable and able to withstand bumps and drops. They are designed to be sturdy rather than attractive.
- Waterproofing: Tablets and Kindles have varying ratings when it comes to waterproofing, so if the device is likely to be used poolside or near the bath, you should check the specifications.
- Camera: While the Fire tablets have both front and rear cameras, these are relatively low resolution compared to the average smartphone. Kindles don’t have cameras.
- Battery life: Most Amazon devices are built with energy efficiency in mind. Depending on usage, the Fire Kids Pro can last for up to 7 hours between charges, while a Kindle Kids can last up to a month based on half an hour of reading per day.
How do I access and purchase books for kids on Kindle?
A subscription to Amazon Kids+ provides access to over 20,000 books for children, as well as kid-friendly movies, TV shows, games, and educational apps (on compatible devices). By using the parent dashboard, you’ll be able to customize your child’s experience and select the content most suitable for their age. With Amazon Kids+, you can create profiles for up to 4 children, and kids can’t access social media or make any in-app purchases without parental consent.
A 1-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ is included with the purchase of a Kindle Kids for new subscribers, with the subscription renewing monthly at the applicable rate after the year is up.
Books are added to the Amazon Kids+ library and can be searched for by title, author, or theme, for example, “new books” or “adventure.” By adjusting the age filter, you can control the selection of titles available to your child.
You can also purchase the books directly from the Kindle Store and add them to your child’s profile via the parent dashboard.
Amazon Kids lets you set daily limits on screen time while leaving unlimited time for reading. You can also control when Amazon Kids shuts down for the day by activating the Bedtime feature.
Is the Kindle easy to use?
Kindles are very user-friendly. When getting started for the first time, you follow the on-screen prompts to register the device and claim the Amazon Kids+ subscription.
Create your child’s profile and set a parental control PIN. There is a power on/off button and an access port for a micro USB. You can select books using the parental controls to add titles to the library, or you can choose them together with your child.
While Kindle is recommended for children aged 7+ for independent reading, you can easily use it for storytime for kids or for supervised or assisted reading practice for younger children.
The Kindle Store on Amazon
You can easily browse through the selection of Kindle books available on Amazon by going directly to the Kindle Store. Based on your browser history, the home page will select top picks for you, recommend books on Kindle Deals, tell you about new releases, and inform you of the current best sellers. Books on specific themes will also be displayed on this page. You can refine your search by using keywords or selecting specific criteria in the sidebar.
Amazon First Reads offers early access to editor’s picks for the month at exclusive prices. Each month, you can choose 2 Kindle books for only $1.99 and shop for select print editions for $9.99 or less in participating months.
The selection of kids’ books on Amazon is vast. You can search by title, author, genre, or age group, and the site will make recommendations based on your selection. You will also be able to see which books are frequently purchased together, which is great if your kids have a specific interest or are doing a school project.
By running a search in the Kindle Store, you’ll also find free kids’ books that are on promotion for a limited time. If you check in regularly, you will be able to add to your kid’s ebook library without any extra expense.
Your kids can read library books on a Kindle too
If your local library subscribes to ebook providers like Hoopla or Overdrive, you can download their apps to your Kindle and check out a huge number of children’s books for free.
Getting kids to read, both for pleasure and to learn more, should be the goal. Depending on your budget and requirements, you may prefer a kid-friendly device such as the Fire 7 Kids Pro Tablet, which has multiple applications, or the more reading-specific Kindle Kids, which we highly recommend.
Either way, you’ll have a device that can store books to read independently or together with a parent or a caregiver. As your child gets older, their personal library can grow and change to suit their reading level and expanding interests.