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Should Kids Read Paper Books, Or Are iPads And Kindles Better?

My son has always loved books. They were among his first objects his eyes fascinated and focused on. He’s learning to read right now and his love of books remains as strong as it was in his infancy.

It’s clear that books – the traditional kind: made of paper and ink and labor – are being replaced by digital media. The Kindle and the iPad and other tablets are making it easier to acquire and consume material once only available on books.

For children today, the iPad is very intuitive. In fact, some parents have reported that their children have become so used to the iPad screen, that they “pinch” pages in books – expecting them to zoom-out.

Perhaps some parents believe we can let books go and just let our kids skip them in favor of digital media without any cost. They *may* be right. Or they may not.

As for me, books are still a critical foundation for civilization.

Neurons are amazing things: the more they’re used, the better they get (generally). So as a child grows, the more exposure they get to different kinds of learning and feeling and experiences, the healthier their brains grow.

We still don’t have enough longitudinal research to know for sure that it’s OK to just skip books and let our kids do everything electronically.

In my opinion: let them explore; let them have fun; let them watch TV or play games. BUT: *be there* with them. Explain to them what’s going on. Step back an observe their behavior before, during and after their interactions with different media.

I know too many people who are letting the infiltration of technology into our lives go on without enough critical awareness and thought and discipline.

When my son and I read books with each other, we enter a world created by our ancestors for the pleasure and wisdom and civility of our minds.

I can’t tell other parents what to do.

But I do hope they keep reading books with their kids for as long as they can.

I’ve many regrets in my life. I’ll never regret reading books with my son.

*This blog post was originally published at Phil Baumann*


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