Your child needs to have superb reading abilities to get the best out of their education. As we note in our “Improving Reading Skills” article, reading doesn’t only enhance comprehension—it heightens critical thinking, vocabulary expansion, and overall cognitive growth. In the future, your child will use their proficiencies for tasks like evaluating the news and conducting research. Because of this, it’s essential to cultivate their reading aptitude.
One way you can do that is to get them started on digital books, like ebooks and audiobooks. These text formats have unique features and benefits that can hone your child’s reading expertise. Want to learn more? Read on to find out how ebooks and audiobooks can boost your child’s education.
Traditional book format vs digital book format
It should be noted that when it comes to bolstering your child’s reading abilities and education, there’s no replacing physical books. As child development expert Lee Scott puts it in a recent CBS58 article, the traditional book format provides a sensory experience digital books can’t replicate. Your child can flip through pages, feel the covers, and explore the book’s contents even when their reading prowess is still burgeoning, allowing them to nurture a love of books and literature.
That said, supplementing physical books with digital ones offers additional benefits for your child’s learning. One 2021 review from the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that using regular ebooks and ebooks that incorporated audio helped encourage young children’s literacy skills, boosting their vocabulary and reading comprehension. The study also found that ebook interventions even outperformed school programs in the advancement of reading proficiency. In short, if you add digital books to your library, your child’s learning has much to gain.
Benefits of ebooks
The best part about utilizing ebooks for your child’s education is that you can customize your child’s reading experience to fit their needs and preferences. You could download an e-reader app on your child’s phone to grant them a productive way to read on the go. You can also purchase a dedicated e-reading device to ensure that they’ll be able to read without any distractions. If your child feels like a book is too overwhelming, you can increase the font size to limit the amount of text on the page and enable a progress bar to show your child how much material they’ve already covered and encourage them to go further. Additionally, you can allow your child to choose their books’ font type, page color, and more to adhere to what they believe will most engage them.
Ebooks also have a few extra learning tools for your child to build up their reading skills. If your child doesn’t know a word, all they have to do is press and hold it on the screen, and a dictionary will provide them with a definition. You may also point out that e-reading apps and devices have highlight and note-taking features. With it, you can get your child to pick out what they believe are the text’s central ideas or choose discussion points they’d like to discuss later. You can even ask them to take note of sentences or phrases that stuck with them and why, which can give you insights into understanding your child better.
Benefits of audiobooks
Letting your child listen to stories is a novel way to boost their reading ability. In fact, the unconventionalness of hearing a work is part of an audiobook’s charm. For reluctant readers, the process of actively listening to a text can feel less intimidating than facing paragraphs laid out on the page or screen. This is especially true for kids who may have learning difficulties like dyslexia. Audiobooks, then, are a great way to break down reading barriers.
In addition, children can engage with audiobooks with a variety of methods. Listening quietly to a recording is one way to do it, and it can aid in helping children develop their concentration skills as well. However, since audiobooks are hands-free, your child can also draw pictures, create mindmaps, and even walk around or dance while they’re doing their reading. This form of play allows children to expand their creativity, focus, and self-expression. It also helps them figure out how they like absorbing information best, supporting their independent learning growth.
Where to access ebooks and audiobooks
There are plenty of places to find excellent digital books for your child. Your local library is one great resource—inquire there to access ebooks and audiobooks free of charge. You’ll also want to check out Project Gutenberg, a database where you can find free, full-text, downloadable ebooks and audiobooks. Keep in mind that the project only hosts ebooks out of copyright in the US, which means that you won’t find Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, or other contemporary children’s books there. However, you can obtain classics like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Magic Fishbone, and other books that will enrich your child’s reading.
Finally, for audiobooks in particular, consider subscribing to Everand—an ebook and audiobook subscription service that allows you to access thousands of titles each month for one low monthly price. Its expertly narrated library includes stellar books like The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, and The Hunger Games, and your child can enjoy listening to them on whatever mobile device you choose to download the app.
Tips on using ebooks and audiobooks for your child’s education
To maximize the benefits of digital books for your child’s education, you’ll want to follow a few techniques. While ebooks and audiobooks can provide scaffolding for your child to read independently, you’ll still want to schedule a dedicated reading time with them. That way, you can ask them questions that can assist in getting them to think more deeply about the texts and answer any inquiries they might have.
You’ll want to progress your child’s reading comprehension by slowly providing more complex material as their skills sharpen. For excellent books that can help do that, you can follow our suggestions from our “Recommended Reading for Students” post, which lists top children’s books in order of increasing difficulty. Your child can start with Wonder by RJ Palacio and work up to Where the Wind Leads by Vinh Chung. You’ll also want to be especially selective with audiobooks. When starting out your child with the format, it’s best to begin with stories they’re familiar with to help them get accustomed to the reading method. From there, choose audiobooks with good production values to better foster your child’s reading enjoyment.
Ebooks and audiobooks can supplement physical texts to boost your child’s education. Follow the above tips to leverage them well.
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