As kindles, 'kobo's and various other e-readers have been flooding the media and marketplace, we'll slowly move to non-paper reading. Which I will never get completely accustomed to, but I can understand the ecological savings and value in using an e-reader. As an adult.
But when it comes to children books I am a firm 'hard copy' believer.
Me and my new book 'Crazy Hair' by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean
Awesome rhyming and adventure in this book, perfect for my 4-5yr old clients!
From my perspective, I see those children prior to school entry who are MOST at risk for difficulties with reading and writing. Having difficulties with language and sounds is directly linked to struggling with literacy. Although for most of us it's been years since we learned how to read, it involves a lot more than simply sounding out the letters on a screen.
Pre-literacy skills start with understanding how to hold a book- right side up, knowing that those weird squiggles are somehow words and that a story has a beginning, middle and end.
With good parental support, children learn that letters are powerful and have meaning and that we read from left to right (via using your finger to move along the page). They start to learn that letters have sounds and that words can be broken up into letters, sounds and 'beats' (syllables). All those nursery rhymes? They're phonological awareness (pre-literacy) games built into regular culture.
With e-readers children don't turn pages, there is no concrete, visual beginning and end, the screen can adapt to the position you hold it (so right side up doesn't make sense anymore) and it becomes more difficult to read like a traditional book.
Seriously, octopus in his crazy hair... love it!
We could briefly talk about the current research on television-screen exposure and the link to developmental delays, language delays, obesity and attention difficulties... but that would require a whole other post. I'll just say that children do not learn language from a computer-television or other 'e-learning' device. Children learn language from play, conversation and peer-adult interaction. If you're interested, I could definitely write another post on this topic- just let me know :)
So- here is where the eco-line is drawn. More developmentally appropriate eco-options for your little one:
- Get a library card and visit frequently! This will instill the value of library-lending at a young age and up the chances they'll use it as teens and adults. Also, libraries often have free events like circle times, book readings etc that would give your child the opportunity to interact and play with children their age.
- Buy books from second hand book stores- they have been previously loved.
- Look for local book-exchange groups, or start your own!
- Check out yard sales or hit up family members for books their children have outgrown.
- Buy from local bookstores so that you're supporting local!
- Last resort- buy good quality books that will last, choose selectively for level appropriate for your child's age or find some that are made from sustainable materials.
article and photograph copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com