Blogger: Etta Wilson
Location: Books & Such Nashville Office
Weather: Hot and cloudy
Being a kids book’ advocate, I don’t think you can start little ones too early in grasping new experience from a book. Well, maybe I draw the line with prenatal reading, but I’ve had too many lovely experiences holding those six-month-old cherubs and sharing books with them not to think it’s valuable.
Of course the question comes to mind about their ability to absorb meaning from the page versus the feeling of being loved while wrapped in the arms of a caring adult. Does it really matter if the love a child feels at this stage carries over to a love of reading? The book and the love can become indistinguishable.
But what about all this talk and some evidence that kids of today have become adapted to and enamored with electronic formats? At what stage of a child’s life does that take place?
We’ve read about and perhaps seen preschoolers at computer keyboards where they may be cued to an electronic picture book or cartoon. No adult needed there. The e-book makes the reading/viewing even easier for smaller and perhaps younger ones. We’re getting there in regard to making content and format accessible for very young children.
However, even with all these technological breakthroughs, I hope we don’t lose the opportunity to connect love and reading for the preschool child. So many of them need it. Nobel author Pearl Buck’s children’s book, One Bright Day (1950), seems pertinent to this question. (And maybe I need to read again The Good Earth.) Born in 1892 and taken to China by her missionary parents before the start of WWII, Buck escaped indescribable tragedies by her mother’s reading to her and then by reading herself at an early age. How did she come to know love when she was finding mutilated body parts in her yard if not through books?
Well, that’s history, and we live in the 21st century. Thank heaven we have children and love and books to share in so many forms. What affect do you think reading an e-book might have on children?