My kids are big readers. But they’re also huge tech fans. So combining their love of books with a tablet-style device like the Kindle Paperwhite meant there has been a lot of extra reading this summer.
The Kindle Paperwhite e-reader is extremely compact. Sized somewhere between an iPhone 6 Plus and an iPad Mini, the Kindle fits beautifully in my kids’ hands and is lightweight enough that they can hold it up while they lie down before bed at night. There’s no awkward fumbling to keep it overhead and I have never once dropped the Kindle on my child’s face, like I have my mobile phone. (Oops.)
The no-glare screen is everything, and it’s what makes the Kindle significantly more ideal for reading than a smartphone or tablet. With the latter two, there is no way you’d be able to read out in the sun. Aside from your device getting hotter than Beelzebub himself, the reflection of your surroundings would interfere with what’s on the screen — if you can see the screen at all, that is. Not so with the Kindle Paperwhite. We’ve tried it indoors, outdoors and in the car with the hot sun peering in through the window. It works beautifully in every situation. There has been no environment in which we haven’t been able to read perfectly.
It’s really easy to browse for new books, and probably my favourite feature of all is the sample download option. When we’re looking for books, we can start by downloading a sample first. This gives the reader an opportunity to read the first few pages (or, in the case of longer chapter books, the first few pages of the first several chapters!) to see if it’s worth buying. I downloaded something like 47 samples before we ever purchased a single book and my kids had reading material for a couple of weeks. Then they got to choose what to buy. Down the road, when they’re responsible for their own money, I can opt to get them their own Amazon accounts and re-jig the settings on their Kindles to enable the WiFi purchase option.
The Kindles are linked to my personal Amazon account, but customized for my kids. They have their names on them and preferences like Word Wise settings (more on that in a sec). I was also able to shut off the option for my kids to make any purchases. They can browse and get samples on their own, but only I can pull the trigger on payment. Which, by the way, I can do from anywhere my Amazon account is accessible.
Not only that, but because they’re linked to me, they’re also linked to each other. So what one child chooses can be read by the other and vice versa. This is better bang for buck, and because the Kindle Paperwhite holds thousands of books, I’m not worried about space issues.
Other things I love about the Kindle when it comes to my kids:
- Instant definitions available — they just have to tap and hold their finger on a word they don’t know, and up comes the dictionary definition(s)
- “Word Wise” helps my kids understand more challenging books when they aren’t reading with a grownup. Short definitions automatically appear above difficult words. This can be easily enabled or disabled as your child grows
- The ability to track how much my kids have read
- No bookmarks required — the Kindle automatically remembers where they left off
- They can make notes throughout the text
- If you have a more impatient reader who finds reading a bit of a chore, they might be encouraged by “Time to Read,” which is ultimately a personalized tool based on your kid’s individual reading speed, and regularly updated as both speed and habits change. With every book, you and your child can tell in an instant how much time it will take to finish a particular chapter or book
The battery life is pretty outstanding. If we’re on the road, my kids might get five or six hours out of a single charge on the iPad. In sharp contrast, we rarely even bother taking the Kindle charging cord with us because it can take weeks to go through one charge. Really.
There’s a built-in light that means you can brighten or dim the display depending on what kind of light you need for your eyes to feel their most comfortable.
The K Man is obsessed with Japanese culture and language right now thanks to Yo-Kai Watch, so he’s fascinated by the ability to translate words using the integrated Bing Translator. (There are other language options, too.)
Most of the books we’ve purchased have been cheaper than hard copy books by leaps and bounds:
- The complete Little Women series — 99 cents!
- The complete Little House on the Prairie series — $5.79
- The Wizard of Oz (with original illustrations!) — 99 cents
- Diary of a Sixth Grade Ninja — $1.99
- Wonder — at $12.42, this is our biggest splurge
- The Secret Garden — 99 cents
- The Little Prince — 92 cents
- Big Nate: Revenge of the Cream Puffs — $1.50
- Many more to come…!
I never say “no” to books, but I shudder to think what we’ve spent at our local book shop over the years — so this is already saving us a lot of money. It doesn’t mean we will never buy a paper book again, but we sure aren’t going to buy as many. (Do you know how much I’ve spent on Big Nate books alone in the past two years?!) This is way more convenient, especially for a family like ours that travels a lot.
If you’re accustomed to the touch-sensitivity you get with a smartphone or many tablets, you’re going to have to cool your horses when you start using the Kindle because it’s a bit slower to respond. We all found this frustrating at first but grew to deal with it pretty quickly.
The display of this $140 e-reader is black and white, and in a world of technicolour this is the second thing my kids mentioned (after the touch sensitivity). It’s a non-issue for reading straight-up text but The K Man is super into comic-style books and graphic novels and losing the colour does mean you lose some of the fun with those. So we’ve decided to focus on text-only books for our Kindles and splurge for paper books if there are pictures involved. Easy peasy.
P.S. Check out Kindle’s top five summer reading list:
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Bridge to Terebithia by Katherine Paterson
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan 5 Book Paperback Boxed Set
- Pippi Longstockings by Astrid Lindgren
- Of, The Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
OK — it’s contest time…
Now it’s time for YOU to win a Kindle. So, the lovely folks at Amazon are giving away one $100 Amazon.ca gift card, which is enough to purchase this Kindle. All you need to do is visit the Kindle Store and tell me in the comments what book(s) you’d add to YOUR summer reading list — and be sure to include the Kindle price!
Contest is open to Canadians who are the age of majority in their provinces, and will close on August 27, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Prize has no cash value. Winner will be chosen via random.org. By accepting prizes, winners agree to release Amazon, Mommy Gearest and all affiliates and agencies from any and all liability. Winners understand they must provide full mailing addresses and phone numbers for shipping purposes to a third party for prize facilitation.
DISCLAIMERS: I am not an Amazon affiliate and do not benefit in any way from clicks or purchases made from this post. In addition to the device, Kindle provided Amazon credits to get us started on our e-book journey. This was helpful because it meant I could be riskier with our book selections and try a variety of options about which we could then report back to you (from comics to full series). It should come as no surprise that this did not alter or influence my opinion in any way.