Reading is one of the best habits to cultivate in your child. Reading develops language skills, improves attention span, and fuels the imagination. Of course, reading is also a great bonding activity for family and friends when visiting the library and sharing tales with each other. However, lugging books around may be tiring for your child and you may not be able to find the titles you want.
In this article, I’ll share how you can build a digital library of ebooks for your child and encourage them to love reading!
Why Build a Digital Library?
In today’s digital age, it’s easy to build a digital library or collection of books for your child. Here are just a few of the many advantages of a digital library:
- A digital library is much cheaper to build than a physical collection
- Books can be read, shared, and stored easily
- Interactive ebooks are more fun and engaging, encouraging children to read rather than play computer games or surf the Net on the computer/tablet/smartphone
Finding Ebooks for Your Child’s Digital Library
It’s really easy to start stocking up on ebooks for your child. Many children’s classics can be found for free as they’re no longer under copyright, and some children’s authors have also made their books free for reading. I recommend downloading ebooks from these websites:
- Project Gutenberg offers a great collection of children’s classics, such as Andersen’s Fairy Tales and Black Beauty. However, most contain few or no illustrations.
- Feedbooks also provides ebooks in the public domain for download.
- Free Kids Books has beautifully illustrated ebooks that are perfect for younger kids. Downloadable in PDF format.
- Smashwords is an online distributor of independent ebooks. You can browse free ebooks by rating and download them in a wide range of formats.
- EPubBooks lets you search and download free EPUB ebooks of all genres. Select “Juvenile Fiction”, “Juvenile Nonfiction”, or any category to narrow down your choices.
- ManyBooks is a website filled with completely free ebooks, downloadable in your preferred format. The “Young Readers” books are more suitable for older children as they’re more lengthy and are mostly plain text.
Of course, a Google search will yield hundreds more websites offering free children’s ebooks for reading online or download.
Ways to Organize Your Digital Library / Ebook Collection
Just like how you organize your music collection using iTunes or WinAmp, your digital library of ebooks can be organized using software. This way, your child can access his/her ebooks easily and share them with family and friends. Here are the top 3 ebook tools for computers:
- Adobe Digital Editions
- KooBits 4.0
Ebook Reading Devices and Apps
Last but not least, the main benefit of creating a digital library is allowing child your child to read on the go. With most kids today being given their own mobile devices, having their ebooks with them all the time gives your child the option of reading instead of just playing games or chatting with friends on their smartphone or tablet.
Here are some of the most popular ebook reader apps available:
Moon+ Reader (Android) comes with plenty of customizable features to make reading on a tablet or smartphone more comfortable. Best of all, it offers Dropbox syncing so that books and reading positions can be synced among multiple devices.
eBooks.com Ebook Reader (iPhone/iPad/Android) lets you sync your eBooks.com online bookshelf onto all your devices, and offers a collection of classics and other popular books for download.
If you prefer not to give your child an iPad or mobile device, consider getting him/her an ebook reader. This is a great gift for voracious readers; however, most are limited in function and likely will not be able to open interactive ebooks. Hence, they are better suited to older kids.
Remember, reading is not just a solitary activity – you cannot simply throw them lots of books and expect your kid to read them all on their own. Once you’ve started a digital library of ebooks for your child, it’s important to be involved in their reading experience. For example, you can:
- Ask them to create a bookshelf of their favourite titles
- Get them to recommend you a story by giving you a summary
- Discuss fables
If your child abandons a book halfway or refuses to read something, don’t force them into it – allow them to develop their own preferences and let reading be something they love, not a chore to be completed.
Last but not least, this is also a chance for you to create your own digital library and read together with your child – perhaps the best example you can set for them in cultivating the habit of reading. Try it, and do share your experience and suggestions with us.