E-Books, Children, the Library, and You

Jul 18, 2013 by     2 Comments    Posted under: Book Picks, Early Literacy

Never! Books are forever!

At the Nashville Public Library, “books are only half the story.” That may be true, but did you know that you can check out e-books­ from the library, with your library card? Yes! Our OverDrive E-Book collection has thousands of titles to choose from, all of which can be downloaded to your favorite e-reader, whether it’s a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or another device. And many of those e-book titles are for children, including both fiction and nonfiction. Let us help you navigate the wide world of e-books for children available at the library.

Photo by Steve McGrane
Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

It’s important to think carefully about how to use e-books with children, and acknowledge some of the controversies that exist. More and more children are using e-readers, yes, but is this a good thing? Do they help develop the requisite literacy skills that we know traditional reading does? Studies have found that parents interact with their children differently when using an e-reader versus a traditional book. Instead of talking about the content of the book with their child, parents often focus on directing their child on how to use the device: “hold it like this, don’t touch that, tap here,” and so on. Of course, this is understandable when handing a small child an expensive and sophisticated electronic device. But such direction “impedes comprehension.” Children get nothing out of a story if they are being told every other moment how to act and react, instead of talking with their parents about what they are reading: “look at that! Isn’t that funny? What do you think is going to happen next?”

But we all know technology is not going away. E-readers are here to stay. It is up to parents, then, to be their child’s “media mentor.” Parents must model for their children how to use technology appropriately. It is about sharing an e-book together, instead of letting the e-reader do all the work (and it can’t do it as well as a parent’s lap and the sound of their voice).

With this in mind, what can you download from the library to your e-reader and share with your child?  Of particular note are the several titles from the classic “Little Golden Books” series, available only on OverDrive. Included among them are books featuring popular characters such as Thomas the Tank Engine, for example. But there also some truly classic Little Golden Book titles available, including ones that I remember reading (and loving) as a child. I Am a Bunny is the tender story of a bunny named Nicholas. He lives in a hollow tree, and with the passing of each season he enjoys what the forest has to offer. There is a note of melancholy to Nicholas’ life, and as a child, it appealed to my solitary nature. Also available are traditional fairy tales, folk stories, and nursery rhymes such as The Little Red Hen, Old MacDonald Had a Farm, and The House that Jack Built.

Take the time to explore with your child the e-books that the library has to offer. As with all books (whether you read with someone, or tell someone else about the great book you just read), e-books are best when shared.

2 Comments + Add Comment

  • I use Overdrive every day for e-books and audio books, but the only books I use it for my daughters are long chapter books that I read to them, usually when they’re trying to go to bed or audio books for family travel. I’ve never used it for a book like I am a bunny. It’s a great program that works on just about any platform, and I am very grateful my library provides it. But you don’t have to take my word for it!

  • That’s so great that you are reading chapter books to your daughters, and audio books on trips are a great way to get in a good read aloud, especially when the voice is a great one…like Jim Dale reading Harry Potter. Do you have any favorites that you have found?

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