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Encouraging Literacy with the Amazon Kindle

Encouraging literacy with the Amazon Kindle

Books are important in our family! We have a pretty nice home library of physical books, and we borrow two or three dozen more from our public library every week. Seven-year-old Johnny is reading plenty well for chapter books, but he has mostly stuck to short books that he can read in one sitting, because he worries about losing his spot when he is partway through his book. When we were offered the chance to try out Amazon’s entry-level Kindle, together with an Amazon Kids+ subscription, I knew I had found a way Johnny would enjoy reading!

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Encouraging Literacy with the Amazon Kindle

Using Freetime Unlimited on the Amazon Kindle

The Kindle we were sent is priced at $79 – the cost of a few paperback books. Amazon Kids+ subscriptions start at $2.99 per month. With a Amazon Kids+ subscription, kids get access to all sorts of books for free, including many character-themed books like the ones featured in the photo above that my kids like to read but that I am not likely to invest in for our home library. Amazon Kids+ also includes access to the entire Harry Potter series, Mary Norton’s The Borrowers, and several Newberry Medal and Honor winning books.

Using the Amazon Kindle with kids

Using Amazon Kids+ also allows kids to set reading goals and track their progress. This is great if your school has a reading program, or if your local library has a summer reading program!

The touch screen makes this Kindle really easy to use, and Johnny really enjoys being able to look up the definitions of words he doesn’t know (this is a Kindle feature I have also used.) Since Johnny is an early reader, it would be nice if the definitions included a phonetic pronunciation guide – maybe Amazon will eventually add this? I also wanted a way to add specific Amazon Kids+ books to my kids’ profiles through my desktop computer, but it seems that this can only be done through the actual Kindle. I wish there were a section kids could click on with “books recommended by mom/dad/your teacher”, for example, that parents and teachers could easily add to through Amazon’s website. Maybe in a future version of Amazon Kids+?

I made a short video of Johnny and then Emma reading a Curious George story out loud together on the Kindle – they definitely enjoy reading together this way!

Do your kids read on a Kindle? Do you? Here are some of my top tips for raising readers. What are yours? I have featured some great literacy activities to try with your kids below!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

11 thoughts on “Encouraging Literacy with the Amazon Kindle”

  1. I love the ease of using an e-reader when traveling, but I still love the feel of a book in my hands. I’m afraid I’ve passed that on to my kids. They prefer books they can hold to e-readers! Love the photo of your kids reading together!

  2. My middle daughter asked for a Kindle Paperwhite last year and it’s the only electronic reader we have in the house (that still works). She uses it a lot and she’s even allowed to bring it to school. I think eReaders are great!

  3. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    We were looking at Free Time Unlimited, but the books seem mostly “too young” for our sophisticated 8 year old reader. She does love her Kindle and considers it one of her most valued posessions, almost on par with her most favorite blanket :)

    1. From looking at Free Time Unlimited with my kids, it looks like they suggest books based on your child’s age, but there are other books you can find – you just have to know how to search for them. Maybe you should set Smarty’s age as a couple years older, just to find out what books are available that are closer to her level?

  4. We do about half of our reading on the Kindle. Ours are Kindle Fires, so we also use them for educational apps (and a few just for fun games). I like the Whispernet feature that lets me switch back and forth between reading and listening to a novel.

  5. Elisa | blissfulE

    Loved hearing your kids read! I use a Sony e-reader for checking an occasional novel out of the library using Overdrive. :) My sister has had a Sony and now a Kindle Paperwhite and she definitely enjoys her Kindle more. Although I would save money buying digital books for our homeschool rather than printed ones, I am hesitant to go that route. Recent research suggests that retention of timeline of a story is not as good on an e-reader as it is in a paper book. The theory for this is that holding the paper book, our brain correlates the thickness of the pages to how far along we are as we read and the events unfold.

  6. I have wondered about getting a dedicated reader – without the other apps for the kids especially as we take more frequent plane trips and car.

  7. Thank you for the review MaryAnne! I have been wondering about getting a kindle for my 8 year old son but theres just something about touching a paper book that I feel is such a big part of childhood. I read mostly on my kindle though! It is one of my must have essentials in life! :) I think I want him to start off with real chapter books and once he gets a feel for reading paperback books (the whole sensory experience of it) then I would consider a kindle :)

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