eBook reading for children

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This page will cover hardware, eBook sources, and other needs specific to children. See text search for children to find articles in this wiki. Note that to see all of the children entries you may need to search the article itself. After the page is display use CTRL-F to bring up the page search form.


[edit] Introduction

Parents are often interested in providing additional fun ways to get their children to read more. Older children can make use of current e-book devices to read eBooks and there are a wide variety of books available. However, eBook readers, portable PDA's, and portable computers generally have screens that include a glass layer which is easily broken. This layer is generally under a protective plastic layer so it does not represent a hazard but is expensive to replace. The larger the screen the greater the chance for breakage so a 5" or smaller screen may be desirable. Protective covers are a must. Devices specifically designed for children are generally more rugged in this respect.

[edit] Hardware

Here is a list of eBook Readers specifically designed for children. Note that all of these devices use proprietary eBook formats that only work with their hardware.

  • Aiptek Story Book - This is a dedicated eBook Reader but fairly expensive.
  • Ematic FunTab 2 - 7" Android. Has Zoodles Kids Mode built in.
  • Fisher-Price iXL - This is a multi-purpose devices
  • Kindle Fire - now comes in a 6" kids version.
  • Leapster Explorer - This is newer version of the leapfrog product and is designed for older children. They now have a LeapPad 3 5" model for ages 3 to 8, and a LeapPad 7" Ultra XDi model.
  • Nintendo DS - This is a game machine but it also has two methods of supporting eBooks.
    • One is to use a Homebrew route where a special cartridge can be purchased to permit the addition of 3rd party software that provides eBook reading capability. These cartridges generally include the ability to have a memory card addon to hold the eBooks and in some cases can use eBooks available from standard eBook stores.
    • The second is to buy a game cartridge that provides a reader and book(s).
  • Sony PSP - This is a game machine but also has the ability to read eBooks. Like the Nintendo it also has an Homebrew PlayStation Portable route.
  • VTech VReader - This has the potential to be a capable reader.
  • nook color - has support for nook kids with interactive books, read to me books, and other specialized children's books.
  • iPod Touch - Popular Apple unit for use by children. The original iPad mini is still for sale and a great unit for children.
  • Nabi Tablet - models for children as young as 4 (Nabi Jr.). A Fuhu Nabi 2 and a Nabi Big Tab for tabletop use (20" and 24" models)
  • XO Tablet An Android tablet from One laptop per child.
  • The Nexus 9" is for older kids and runs Android Lollipop. Link to wikipedia.

[edit] Computers for children

[edit] Tablets

For 2011 the new kid on the block is Web Tablets. For children this had led to two new tablets. These are basically similar to the earlier offerings for children with a larger screen and an interface that looks like the apps on a regular tablet.

  • The LeapPad from Leapfrog has a 5" screen and a camera. It will run cartridges from the Leapster Explorer and includes a more advanced eReading application. It is aimed at children from 4 to 9.
  • The InnoTab from Vtech has a 5" screen and uses the tablet motif. It is for ages 4 to 9 and features two colors, pink and blue. It seems to need its own custom cartridges but many are adaptions of VTech VReader ones.
  • VINCI is a third tablet is on holds barred tablet. It is an Android based 7" tablet designed for children. Like the two above it does not have Wi-Fi due to concerns for security but can be hooked to a computer for download of apps.
  • Nabi Tablet models include NABI JR., NABI 2, NABI XD, DREAMTAB
  • XO Tablet An Android tablet from One laptop per child. Target ages 3 to 12.
  • Boeye makes several 7" and 8" Android based tablets for children. They feature cartoon like designs.

See also: Laptop Computers for Children

[edit] Other

AnyBook‎ is a pen like device that reads books to children using your recorded voice. It comes with stickers that are placed on the pages of the book and keyed to your recorded messages.

[edit] Software

Programs for Windows or MacOS X computers that are specifically suited for children's books

[edit] Library Books

Your public library or school may offer these services.

  • Tumblebooks provides readable books, some with audio read along for children. These are only available to schools and libraries although if your library or school supports this it can be used from home.
  • Scholastic BookFlix is a new online literacy resource that pairs classic video storybooks from Weston Woods with related nonfiction eBooks from Scholastic to build a love of reading and learning. Aimed at children from preK-3 grade.

[edit] Book Formats

As already mentioned most eBooks for younger children have interactive features and are currently in a format that can only be used on the manufacturer's hardware. More general purpose devices can be used for children's eBooks for more traditional reading. As a minimum eBook formats that have image capability is a must. Popular formats include: PDF, ePUB, CBR and CBZ. The newer ePub 3 format has support for video and audio playback making it more suitable for some children's books. MOBI and AZW have image capability but often the books have small low resolution images suitable for smaller screens only. Amazon has addressed this limitation in its Topaz format and to some degree in its AZW format for newer eBooks. The Amazon Kindle Format 8 (KF8) includes a fixed layout option which can provide specialized features for children's eBooks.

TTS is a plus for younger children but cannot compare with actual audio recording available as interactive features in some proprietary formats used on specialized hardware. In some cases a longer eBook for older children might be termed a graphic novel. These are usually in PDF, CBR, CBZ or other fixed page layout format such as fixed layout ePub.

See Textbooks for a discussion of formats targeted directly at textbooks including those for young children. In addition some Web Tablets offer unique custom apps for a particular hardware configuration or sets of hardware. A programmer can custom make an app for a particular book and provide some features not available in any other way.

[edit] Publishers

Most Publishers have special books for children but have not embraced eBooks for children yet. Some are beginning to feature children's books.

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