Spaghetti Box Kids

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Kindle or Book?

June 18th, 2012 · 5 Comments

The question has been asked plenty of times—which do you prefer, Kindle or book? For many, the question is completely irrelevant. They prefer a maximum dosage of television. Period. Well, maybe not period—there’s the gaming systems, too. But you get the idea: they don’t read. For those left who do read, I ask the question: which is better if you have kids. . . Kindle or books?

kindle or bookThe question is best seated in the context of learning environment, since that environment determines so many lifelong traits, preferences and abilities. It really depends on what you value. If you value a robust learning environment, then go with books. In fact, fill your house with books—create a setting that energetically encourages scholastic exploration. Simply put: there’s nothing like books here, there and everywhere to stimulate the love of learning.

It’s a question of lifestyle. If you fill your house with books, that means you’re taking trips to bookstores. You’re exposing your child to environments where learning and the pursuit of knowledge are held in highest esteem. You’re making regular visits to your local library, where your child marvels at the seemingly endless variety of titles, and is allowed the privilege of selecting half a dozen books to take home. Of course you linger and sit and read together, and lower your voices when you share a thought because others around you–like minded people–are trying to read. They’re building ideas. They’re using their minds creatively. And guess what? –That pursuit is protected. It’s held in highest regard. You have to keep your voice down. That’s the environment.

reading to your childBy contrast, compare the electronics store where you buy a Kindle. Is that a scholastic environment? Is that the kind of place that holds learning in the highest regard? Not quite. It’s a place where giant screen televisions, video games and stylish gadgetry win the day. All those products come to you by way of marketing and advertising. You’re a consumer who’s expected to keep up. Today’s Kindle book is tomorrow’s Kindle television. Oh, right, the Kindle television thing is already here.

Keep in mind, if you choose a lifestyle of books and learning over entertainment and gadgetry, your household activities will point in the same direction. For instance, your child reads about Curious George making paper boats, and next she wants to make paper boats. That’s a short step from paper-making activities in general, origami, model building. You can say the same about Madeline’s outfits and the invitation to paper doll making, drawing, coloring and textile projects. In other words, you’ve created an environment that encourages creative, exploratory activities.

Hey wait a minute, you say, how about the techno whiz-bang environment? Doesn’t that foster creativity, too? Hmm, let’s see. Somebody else wrote all the programs to the games. All the outcomes and possibilities are predetermined. You passively follow the sub-routines, zone out, and experience intense emotional stimulus. In the end, you say something like ‘that was cool’ and feel a strong compulsion to play again.

Like we said earlier, it’s a question of lifestyle.

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Tags: Learning Strategies

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kate // Jun 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Long time reader, first time commenter. You have precisely summed my sentiments on Kindle vs book. On the one hand, I’m glad whenever I see people engrossed in a book, whether is electronic or not. On the other hand, you have placed the conversation in the right context–home learning environment. I’m a grade school teacher and I must say, overall the attention span of kids is trending badly with the explosion of technology devices. The Kindle by itself isn’t so bad, but as part of a theme –a “lifestyle”–it’s disappointing. I much prefer to see a more wholesome family life that, as you point out, includes trips to bookstores and the library.

    Anyway, very effective article that takes the question out of a vacuum and places it in a wide view context.

    Portland, Oregon

  • 2 Polly // Jun 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Books, books, books!!!! I’m glad somebody finally said it! I’ve been horrified lately at all of the projects that tear apart books as part of the craft. I can’t imagine a world where cold, hard technology replaces the feel of a good book and the rustle of its pages.

    Great post and really good points! Thanks!!

  • 3 Lynn // Jun 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Excellent article. You speak for many of us. Kids are too susceptible to the aims of commercialism. Scale back on the technology, and create a wholesome home environment with wholesome things to do. There’s a much better chance for kids to become critical thinkers that way, rather than lifelong entertainment hunters.

    Lynn W.
    Austin, TX

  • 4 Catherine // Jun 18, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    You’ve definitely brought up something worth reflecting on as a parent. Does using an ereader reduce the amount of visits you make to the library/bookshop with your children? How does it impact on the view children have of you and themselves as readers? And for me maybe, does the instant gratification that I get (and love) when buying books on the Kindle translate to a bad habit I am teaching my kids about whether they should wait for things they want?

  • 5 Josh // Oct 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Great points in this article. It saddens me to see so many parents showering their kids with the latest gadetry. You inspire a different perspective. Thanks!!

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