With nearly 146 million people owning an iPhone, it’s no wonder that technology should play a part in our children’s lives. We live in an ever evolving society and should be utilising all that technology has to offer, especially when it comes to our little ones’ education.
Apple’s Importance – iPhone and iPad for children
Staying with Apple, the iPad can be used to improve a child’s reading through its many apps. The iPad offers interactive book apps and various children’s games which encourage reading. This is a good choice if you already have an iPad and are willing to spend time with your child while they play on it. If, however, you would like to go with a more pocket and child friendly tablet, you could try one of the specially designed tablets for children. These include the Leapfrog’s LeapPad Explorer, the ‘child friendly learning tablet’ which features interactive e-books, games to help reading as well as other aspects of a child’s learning. The alternative is V-Tech’s InnoTab, suitable for children aged 4-9 years. This tablet helps children to read by ‘combining educational games, creative activities and e-books on a multi-functional touch-screen tablet.’ The tablet is supposed to help children develop ‘core skills in reading, spelling, maths, logic and creativity.’ V-Tech also have a child friendly e-reader, similar to the Kindle but for kids. This is the Storio Interactive e-Reading System where ‘reading comes to life.’
Internet for Children
Websites are also a great (and possibly cheaper) way to encourage your children to read. Many websites offer sing-along songs, story books read out-loud and games which encourage reading whilst showing your child that learning can be fun. Similarly, there are still good CDs and DVDs on the market which will encourage your child to read. Try to find interactive ones which have sound as well as visual stimulation for your child such as the story being acted out with cartoon characters as they read it. Learn to Read at the Storybook Factory by Leapfrog is a good DVD choice. Also, a great downloadable computer programme is the Scholastic Clicksmart Reading Programme for children aged 4-7.
Toys and Laptops for Children
Smart toys next. These are toys which incorporate technology to make them interactive. Children can benefit from smart toys from the moment they’re born. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn range caters for all ages and has smart toys to improve a child’s reading from a smart, interactive phone to the Song & Story Learning chair. For a younger age range the Neurosmith: Phonics tiles and the Neaurosmith Phonics Tiles Word Challenge Expansion Set is a smart toy designed to help toddlers read.
Finally, laptops especially designed for children are great to improve your child’s reading but can prove to be expensive. Fisher Price has a good baby’s laptop which is supposed to encourage learning, the Laugh & Learn Smart Screen Laptop. If you liked the sound of the LeapPad Explorer, then you’ll love My Own Laptop from Leapfrog, designed for 2-4 year-olds. But V-Tech provides by far the best, most comprehensive range of children’s laptops, with ones such as the Babies Learning Laptop (ages 6 – 36 months), the Mousekadoer Laptop (3-6 years) and the Tote and Go Web Connected Laptop (3-6 years.)
In my opinion a child’s reading can be improved by making the most of the technologies available, however there’s no substitute for parent/child reading time and so these laptops, smart toys, websites and DVDs should only be used with parent supervision and as an addition to bedtime reading together.