Kids and Reading #illumedati


Hey everyone, it’s Whatever Wednesdays again. Today is just a short post about “Kids and Reading”. Or more specifically, my kids and reading.

Kids and Reading

So I’ve talked about it before, but it’s important to me for instill the love of reading into my children. I don’t really care too much about being the first to read — but the love of reading is important.

Kylie is in 1st grade now and she likes reading. She’s always loved being read to and learned her sight words relatively quickly. Now she’s moved on to reading books by herself for the most part. I don’t really put too much importance into which “grade level” she reads at. However, I would imagine she can read books that are up to about a 2nd or 3rd grade level.

Since I want to nurture this love of reading, I’ve tried my best to buy her books she likes. However, I’m not particularly into using any apps or “digital media” for reading. I guess I’m kind of old school in that regard.

However, her BFF from school uses a reading app called Epic!. (I have no financial relationship with this company.) Her mom says she (and her siblings) really enjoy it. So, I looked into it and decided to give it a try. In general, I’m not really a fan of “subscription” apps. That said, I decided to give it a try since there is a free month trial. Don’t worry, my wife set an alert/alarm to remind us to cancel if we don’t want to keep it before the month ends.

So how is it?

To be honest, I was pretty surprised by how well done the app is. There are lot of good books in there for many ages. However, the thing I really liked the most about this app is the “Read to Me” function that some books have. This is great for my son Lucas who is only 3 years old, but turning 4 in September.

At this point being read to is very important, but perhaps even more important is that the app “highlights” the words as they are being read. By “highlights”, I mean it makes the word currently being read bigger as it’s being read. I think this is kind of visual learning is very helpful for a child of this age.

I was surprised by how well Lucas took to the “Read to Me” functionality of the app. Before bed he can have a bunch of books read to him. There is also a small gamification function where it says “Complete!” and awards points after finishing a book. He loves earning points and is proud of himself after the book is done. For him, I think this app is worthwhile.

What about Kylie?

For Kylie, I think the value cost ratio isn’t quite as high. Since she already knows how to read, the “Read to Me” functionality isn’t that important. In fact, I’d prefer she didn’t use the function at all, so it’s kind of lost on her. Additionally, while there is a good amount of books for her age range, I don’t think that the books are particularly must-haves. If you contrast this against the FreeTime Unlimited from Amazon, which is $2.99 a month (if you have Prime), that’s probably a better value for her. Then if you add in that a “family plan” is $6.99 a month (with Prime) then it probably is the better value once they can both read.

Another thing to consider is that my daughter still seems to prefer actually holding a book, at least for now. She enjoys reading books at school after finishing her work, and prefers real books to digital ones. Recently a book she really likes is:

Also, I recently bought the Captain Underpants Collection as well:

She’s been trying to work her way through those, but it’ll be a little while.

I have a few other books collections on my Amazon wishlist for Kylie as well. I was going to have her check out maybe the first 1 or 2 books of the series from the library or something. Then, if she liked them and wanted to continue, we’d buy more.

I’ll eventually need to get the Harry Potter collection someday too:

So what’s the verdict on Epic?

I think we’re going to see how the kids do with Epic! for now, and probably decide mid September whether to keep it or not. If we do end up keeping it, it probably won’t be for too long, maybe until till December or so.

I would imagine that by then Lucas will have worked his way through all the “Read to Me” books multiple times and be done with it. From there, we still have piles of regular books in our little library for him to start reading or for Kylie to read to him.

In all likelihood, we will probably end up getting the kids their own Kindle Fires and FreeTime Unlimited as some point. Amazon, if you’re listening, make me another good Kindle Fire Kids Edition 2 Pack for Christmas this year since I missed the last one for Prime Day. Much appreciated.

Anything else?

Oh yea, one more thing:

My son is trying to get better with his manual dexterity in learning to write. However, he hasn’t quite taken to it as easily as his sister did at her age. I found these things online which seemed to have helped:

Sometimes you just need a little extra help to get started and make a few small steps of progress. Then after that things kind of fall into place. I think that’s what kind of happened with my son. Once he learned a few things and started writing, he became proud of what he could do, and continue on with it.

In retrospect, it would have been better to get the large triangle pencils earlier on, then transition to the regular pencil with the pencil grips. After that, you can also put the pencil grip on the wooden pencils for practice with the wooden board. So if you’re just getting started, you might want to follow that plan.

Hindsight is always 20/20.

TL;DR

Reading is important and something I want to nurture a love for.

I was surprised how much Lucas took to the “Read to Me” function of Epic!

However, I’m not sure if we’ll keep it long term or not.

We’ll likely end up getting Kindle Fires and FreeTime Unlimited at some point for the kids.

I found some things that helped my son with writing, look above.

Whatever Wednesdays Sensei

-Sensei

Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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