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Paper books or e-readers for the kiddies?

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Internet posters should respect the feelings of people grieving for a loved one. Credit: iStock

The school district sent home a required summer reading list, which means that unless you’re among the first to get to the library, you’ll have to find the books elsewhere.

Lucky for my 8-year-old son (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it), I have a Kindle I am willing to share.

Harrison whipped through “Diary of a Fourth Grade Nothing” in a day. Then “Because of Winn Dixie” and “The Tales That Julian Tells” in short order.

“Superfudge” followed for the sheer enjoyment of it. "A Wrinkle in Time" is next.

Some titles are available as free downloads through the public library, although we have chosen to purchase the books he has read.

And the Kindle’s percentage tracker has been a great motivator — when I leave the house for work in the morning, I ask him to read up to a certain point in the book. Saying, “Get to 75 percent,” is more concrete than asking him to do “three quarters of the book.”

It seems that I am not the only parent whose kids go for the e-reader. A friend who is a librarian says her 7-year-old loves to read on the iPad — although she adores paper books, too (no doubt because Mom is checking them out all the time). Another friend’s 22-month-old daughter also enjoys the iPad, although he says he does not think it holds any more or less value than a standard popup book, at least for a kid that enjoys reading. “It’s probably a great benefit for kids who don’t enjoy books,” he interestingly points out. As one grandmother notes, the interactivity can be engaging. “The 5-year-old reads along,” she says. “The 2-year-old loves to put his finger on the tab to turn the page. The narration is great, voices are wonderful, along with the great graphics.”

All that interactivity backfired for the mother of two little girls: “I would say 95 percent of the time, both kids read printed books,” she says. “For my oldest, I would set her up reading 'Harry Potter' on the iPad and then, 20 minutes later, catch her watching a movie on Netflix.”

One dad warns to set parental controls on purchases, if you can.

The daughter of another friend got hooked using the Nook when Mom was in the hospital for a medical procedure. “She started off with one small book that she was able to finish in about two hours, look for new book that she wanted, didn't like it, got a different book, and we were able to get them at inexpensive prices,” mother says. “She still loves her paper books, but I figure any way a child wants to read, it's fine by me as long as they're reading!”

I agree.

What is your child’s experience reading? Do you prefer paper books or tablets?

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