As eReaders and tablets gain popularity, questions arise as to how eBook technology can be leveraged in education; increasing interactivity of the material for better retention and hopefully facilitating accessibility of materials. Several polls and studies have shown favorable outcomes with the use of eBooks at the college level, leading to desires to examine the possibilities all the way down to the elementary school level. Whether eBooks will prove to be a help or a hindrance to children’s literacy has yet to be definitively proven.
Apps and eBooks have a high potential for interaction. Some books feature intuitive audio systems that can be toggled on to read to your child, and then toggled off to let them practice reading themselves. Graphics can be animated rather than being simply static illustrations, and pages can be linked to create informational environments that encourage exploration rather than page by page reading which may bore a child. Sound effects and music can be added for touch and learn operations. Some books even offer puzzles to solve and linked material for you to help discuss the book with your child.
The format of eBooks also allows them to keep up well with media trends and to offer expansions on selections already popular with your child and their peers. For instance, the well-loved series Diary of a Wimpy Kid leapt from book to major motion picture in the past few years, greatly expanding its audience. Not only is the work available in eBook form, but also comes in an audiobook formatted specifically for use by young readers and available for certain eReaders. Apps based on the series are also available, as well as ePublished guides and meta materials for hardcore fans.
As many colleges and some high schools move towards the use of online and eBook textbooks, familiarizing your child with their use might be advantageous in developing study habits geared toward the use of these materials. It has been pointed out by many that study methods can be vastly different when using eBooks instead of traditional paper books. Functionalities like highlighting and note taking are available, but require separate skills, such as knowledge of feature navigation and touchscreen typing on some models. Letting your child practice this in junior high and elementary school can lessen the stress of using eBooks later on.
Enforcement of Habits
The mobile devices needed for eBooks do require a certain amount of care and responsibility to retain function. While expensive, they are often cheaper and lower maintenance than a full computer, making them a possible teaching tool for learning to care for electronics, which in this era, is a major life skill. As your children can also carry many eBooks at a time on one device, any reading opportunity found away from home doesn’t have to be missed just because they don’t have new material on them.
Finally, many eBooks link to reference materials such as dictionaries and thesauruses, accessible by the touch of a finger. This encourages your developing readers to look up words they don’t know to improve comprehension of texts.