There is much debate about whether print books or ebooks are better for kids. According to the article, EBook or Paper Book − What’s Best for Young Children, comprehension tends to be higher with print books, and parents are more likely to integrate reading strategies. Ebooks, on the other hand, when done well, can promote early literacy skills, be more engaging, and be read independently.
16 Ways Children’s Ebooks are Better than Printed Books offers additional reasons why ebooks are worth exploring. These include the ability to choose your own adventure, sound effects that are particularly appealing to younger children, and direct access to other interactive features or more information on a subject of interest. Ebooks are also easier for traveling because you can have hundreds of books on your tablet that you would never be able to carry in your luggage. Plus, they are a greener option than print books.
But not all children’s ebooks are equal in value and benefits for the reader. Look for ebooks that aid you as the parent to teach your child early literacy skills or engage your older reader. Avoid books with distracting games that take attention away from the story.
For the youngest children, Loud Crow Apps has a wonderful selection of popular baby board books, including Good Night Moon and Sandra Boyton books such as Moo, Ba, La, La, La! Features include pop-out or interactive objects, word highlighting, musical soundtracks, and read-to-me modes.
Your toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy bringing their favorite PBS characters such as Elmo, Daniel Tiger, or Sid the Science Kid to life with the PBS Ebook App. Simon and Schuster’s Multi-Novelty Book Collection includes popular characters such as Spiderman and Paw Patrol.
Ocean House Media has won awards from Mom’s Choice, Parent’s Choice, Academic’s Choice, Techwithkids.com, and others. They have an extensive collection of Dr. Seuss, Berenstain Bears, and Little Critters books. Their books encourage literacy skills with highlighted narration and tappable words and pictures.
Picture Book Science Books each provide information on different physical science topics. Readers learn about science concepts, how they are applied in real-life, and can then participate in STEM-based experiments that reinforce the concepts.
Unite for Literacy has hundreds of free ebooks at early reading levels with narration in English and Spanish. Topics include foods, animals, basic science, sports, vehicles, and holiday celebrations. The organization is dedicated to providing all children with “an abundance of books that celebrate their languages and cultures and cultivate a lifelong love of reading.”
Get Epic offers a free plan for families where they can check out a book a day. Books range from learn-to-read books to popular chapter series such as Wings of Fire. Some book selections include audio recordings. Story Mentors is specifically designed to help struggling readers. The 25-book series of leveled readers walk participants through reading skills. They are matched with a trained mentor who assists with reading skills and encourages the child.
Best Ebook Sites for Children 11-15
The epubBooks website provides access to free ebooks, generally classics. Animal Farm, Dracula, Little Women, Moby Dick, War of the Worlds, and many more can be found on this site. Planet eBook also offers free classics such as Tale of Two Cities, Pollyanna, and The Great Gatsby.
Scribd, Kindle Unlimited, and Bookmate are subscription-based sites. Each offers a free trial to check out the book selection and features. Subscriptions generally include a limited offer of free books and discounts on top-selling books.
Most local libraries and schools have at least one method of checking out ebooks. If your local library is a partner, all you need is your library card to access thousands of titles. Each will carry different titles and have varying guidelines for check-out times. Some of the options include:
- Hoopla partners with local libraries to provide free ebooks, including National Geographic kids, Fancy Nancy, and hundreds of Disney titles.
- OverDrive offers millions of ebook titles through local libraries and schools. You can read books on many platforms, including iPhones, iPads, Android, Chromebooks, Windows 8 & 10, and Kindle Fire HD. It is a costly program, and not all libraries will offer it.
- The Libby App by OverDrive also offers a large selection of ebooks but is limited on what devices it is compatible with—currently only Android and iOS phones or tablets. Smaller libraries may opt for this less expensive option.
- Sora, by OverDrive is offered at many public schools. It offers an extensive collection of books and reading stats, the ability to highlight text and make notes, and sync with classroom assignments.
Ebooks can be an easy, fun, and inexpensive way to provide an expanded library of books for your child. With helpful features, they can teach early literacy skills, support struggling readers, or provide a deeper engagement with the books. Happy reading!