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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Books vs apps...

You may (or may not) have noticed that things have been a bit quiet here in Golden Seed Land. That's because I've been busy teaching one family member to read and spending seemingly endless hours setting up iPods and Kindles for the other two. It's been an interesting time caught between an old-fashioned school reader and navigating the e-reader world (which has so far failed to excite much enthusiasm!).

Do you remember a time when you couldn't read? I must say I really don't and I can't imagine looking at a page of English words and not being able to interpret their meaning. Ours is a reading family. We live in a house with books in every room and spend many hours a week reading, visiting bookshops and thinking and talking about books so you can imagine my excitement when the jumbled letters on the page suddenly started to make sense and Henry started reading.

Henry's favourite book to read is Book 1 of the Victorian School Reader (pictured above) which was used by all Victorian children from 1928 to 1950. It's not like we don't have any other books to read but there is something about the way the story builds with a mixture of familiar and new words that both Henry and Isabella have found irrestistable.

Sure you can teach your kids to read with any number of apps on an iPad but for me it just wouldn't be the same (KJ Dellantonia seems to get what I mean here and I wonder if the Silicon Valley moguls sending their kids to no-computer Waldorf schools do too). I love books as things as much as for what they contain and I want my kids to know about dust-covers, endpapers and fontispieces. That's why I love the idea of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Imagine getting a free book in the mail (personally addressed to you not your mum or dad) every month from birth until you turn 5 - bliss!

Obviously, we're aiming for the best of both worlds here. Isabella loves her new iPod Touch (which she saved for two years to buy) but even though she knows she can download books onto it she hasn't shown any interest in doing so and far from taking up reading time she has read more books in the past couple of weeks than ever before (thank you Roald Dahl , Jeff Kinney and Megan MacDonald.) Tom's Kindle, however, lies idle and yesterday we bought 6 new books between us so we're not there yet!

How about you? Book, e-reader, both or neither?


  1. I haven't delved into the world of e-readers but note many people on my morning commute using them. I am deep into a pretty heavy book, which I'm not lugging on the commute, but would like to read on the train. I can see the value of the e-reader for the big books.

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. It seems a list was necessary.

  2. How coincidental...I was just having the 'printed word' verses 'e-book' conversation this afternoon in my sisters kitchen with one of my nephews. I appreciate that some people love e-books...but I'm definitely a Luddite when it comes to this little family are all obsessed with books and like you have tons in every room...we even had a shelf-full in the bathroom until the steam started to affect them!

    That must have been an amazing moment with Henry...what a lovely of the best skills in the world to share...

  3. Katie

    Like you I often leave the really big books beside the bed and opt for a second book when I'm on the move. Having had a bit of a go on a Kindle recently however one of the things I missed was that feeling of the weight changing from one hand to the other as you get closer to the end. I never really realised before how satisfying that is!

  4. Deb

    I know I'd feel right at home at your place with all those books! It was wonderful seeing Henry finally join the reading club - right up there with his first steps and first words to me.

  5. Congratulations on Henry taking his first steps into the wonderful world of reading! :-)

    Aw, that reader makes me think of one of the first English books I remember reading, must have been around Year 1 in school- featured a collie dog, a red ball, and a swimming pool. Wish I could remember the title, as I'd love to have books like that for teaching my kids to read some day. :-)

    Personally, I'm yet to be convinced of needing an e-book of any kind. I just love holding a book and turning the pages. I think it also makes it so much nicer for small children, when they can 'interact' in this way, as opposed to click-and-scroll interaction on their gizmos. :-)