In the last post, we talked about how reading aloud to Lesley helped her with her reading assignments. But reading aloud to our kids isn’t always possible – and shouldn’t be something they rely on 100%. That brings us to Mike, who has a whole ‘nother type of reading to tackle. In addition to his English assignments, Mike has to read lovely books about theology and doctrine. He’s slightly more interested in his topics than I would be, but it’s still a chore to stay on task.
Here’s what we like:
1. Fast access. There’s no shopping at the bookstore, surfing online or browsing the library for Kindle books. You search for the book, and it’s downloaded immediately. The easy access can’t be beat.
2. Only one thing to lose. With the Kindle, all your books are in one place. There’s no “where in the Dickens is my copy of Dickens?” or “I left my copy of “Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World” at home.” There is only one thing to lose – and yes, our kids WILL lose it. But then the books are also available to be read on the computer or their phone. Kindle material is stored in the cloud and can be downloaded to almost any device.
3. Changing colors. Which leads to another feature – that as far as I can tell is not available on the Kindle itself. But, when you use Kindle for PC or Ipad, you can change the background color for your reading material – white print on black background or a sepia background. This is great for eye fatigue, for kids who see better with different color overlays, or just to change things up a bit. Heaven knows our kids need that!
4. Changing size. The font size can be easily changed on a Kindle, as well as line spacing, width of lines, and words per line. You have two fonts – serif and sans serif. There’s also an option to read horizontally. If your child has trouble with too many words on a page, this is a great way to limit the words showing at one time.
4. Read aloud option. Most Kindle books have a ‘read aloud’ option. The voice is mechanical, but it does allow a change of pace for a short period of time. I’ve used my read aloud while I was engrossed in a book but needed to fold a load of laundry.
5. Highlighting available. There’s a highlighter -and a place to take notes – built into the Kindle. The notes and highlights are saved and backed up in the cloud, so they won’t get lost. They sync across any device you use, too.
6. Built in dictionary! An electronic dictionary
is on my ‘must have’ list for kids with ADHD. On the Kindle, it’s built in. Just move the cursor to the word, and a short, easy to understand (and copy) definition appears.
7. LONG battery life. Really, it’s not forever, but I’ve only charged mine once in about two months. I don’t read it everyday, but I’ve read about ten books on it.
Is it perfect? No. Here’s why:
1. They break! Joe and Mike have broken theirs. Granted, a new one arrives quickly (there’s a guarantee), but it’s a pain. I’ve never broken mine. I think – I KNOW – the boys are just rough. I’m thinking about getting Mike a Kindle cover for Christmas, so if anyone has a recommendation, let me know. I’m not sure if the covers actually protect the Kindle, though. I guess some research is in order.
2. Your choice is black on white. Unlike on an Ipad or a PC, the Kindle only has black text on white.
3. Bulky notes. To me, the highlighting and notetaking are cumbersome. I don’t like the Kindle keyboard at all, and move the cursor takes too much time.
4. Canned reading. The read aloud not always available and it sounds mechanical and dull. There is no expression. This is NOT an ebook, but an impersonal computer reading words.
5. Lost cord. Because the battery doesn’t need charging often, I misplaced the cord the one time mine did need a charge. And come to think of it – where IS that cord now?!
6. Too easy. It’s really easy to opt for instant gratification and buy more Kindle than you intended. I’m a big fan of cheap used books, but when you finish reading a book in a series, Kindle gives you a ‘sample’ of the next one…and then asks you to buy it. I’ve fallen for the bait – once. Joe already warned me that he had to really discipline himself not to spend too much!
All in all, though, I’m sold on the Kindle for ADHD. We purchased the cheapest version for Mike and for me, the one without the 4G option and with the ads, which only show when the Kindle is off. It’s been a great alternative for him. He reads for school and for leisure.
Have you tried the Kindle or another reading device for your ADHD child – or for you? Has it helped? Tell us your successes – or your misadventures.