My two sons are very different when it comes to reading. One loves it and can’t wait to get into his next book. Fiction is his thing and I have lost count of the number of books he has read. He will even reread books over and over. The other is not a fan of fiction. He likes books filled with interesting facts or statistics. Every now and then we do find an author that he likes. He has read some of the David Walliams books, he likes the Middle School books and I bought him a couple of the David Baddiel books last summer which he is reading. But books don’t grab him. I have rarely seen him get excited about a book or get that ‘can’t put it down’ feeling.
A couple of years ago, when the love of devices really landed, reading in this house came to a halt. Both boys suddenly preferred a screen and even the teen, who had always loved reading, stopped reading. It really worried me. I am a big reader and I am always banging on about how important reading is (I have mentioned it a few times on the blog). Reading for me is relaxation time, but it is more than that, it inspires me, it makes me think, it takes me on adventures, it teaches me. Reading is something that we can all do, whether we like reading fiction or non-fiction and it is a gift that I have been keen to pass on to all of my children.
When this sudden lack of interest in reading happened, I was desperate to find a way to inspire them again. It occurred to me that a Kindle might be worth a try. They loved their screens, so what if reading was also on a screen? Would that inspire them to read again?
I must admit that I had never really been a fan of the idea of screens. I love reading, the feeling of holding a book, being able to flick back through it if I want to when I have finished it. But, you have to embrace technology, that is how many of the kids of today roll. It was the end of a positive school year and we decided to buy them both of a Kindle as a well done on a good year present. It was quite an investment, but I decided that it was worth it. Plus, if they didn’t use them, at least my husband and I would inherit them.
Luckily, it was a huge success. The teen reads his non-stop, much preferring that format for reading. He loves it and it does cost a bit to download books for him, but I don’t mind. I always search through the reduced and free books to see if there are any he might like before investing in new books. For me, it is worth the investment as I am so happy that he is reading.
The not so keen reader loved the idea of the Kindle and although it has been a slower process with him, he is reading more than he was before. He loves to browse through the store and choose new books and he has discovered a few series that he has enjoyed reading.
I think it is safe to say that it was a success. Even my husband now has a Kindle. He is a self-confessed non-reader. Although, like our youngest son, he reads all the time; newspapers, sports reports, online articles about education. He likes fact rather than fiction but has discovered a real love of reading on his Kindle.
I am swaying now and thinking that maybe a Kindle would be good for me. I read two or three books a month but we do have a book swap shelf in school which I use a lot and another mum who is an avid reader also regularly swaps books with me. I always have a backlog on my bedside table and I keep saying that if I ever catch up, I will look at buying a Kindle. Then another couple of books land, so it may never happen.
But from a parenting point of view, the Kindles have been overwhelmingly positive and I am so pleased that Iembraced the boys’ love of technology and managed to harness it in such a positive way.