Content for Kids in Print and Digital
Believe it or not, kids still want and need to read. Not everything has to move, blink, or beep!
Kids today are assaulted by moving images, on screens of all shapes and sizes. They watch videos on every device known to man. They absorb images flashing by in seconds while watching TV, watching videos, watching online clips, playing games, or using enhanced e-books.
(Almost) everything moves. Yet as any parent will tell you, a kid who finds a book or magazine that they really love will become more absorbed in that than in any digital device. When kids are looking at things on a screen, things that move and dance and jiggle, they are NOT reading. They are taking part in what can be an awesome experience, don’t get me wrong. They can be learning and absorbing and creating and having fun. But they are NOT reading.
When a young person can leave behind the moving images, when they have only their imagination to draw the pictures of the words they see, or when they have only their own mind to connect nonfiction images with the words around them, that’s when they are reading. The numbers so far bear out this truth: Yes, e-book numbers among adults are rocketing upward. For kids, so far, that’s not the case. Yes, there is a segment of the kids’ population that wants to play with them (note, I say “play” with them). But for the tried-and-true, one-on-one, mind-expanding experience of reading . . . a book still works best.
You’ll put me down as a stick-in-the-mud fogie. I hope not. I’m not denying the wonder and fun and learning possibilities from all things digital. I’m just saying that in the headlong rush to try to catch up with Publisher X and their latest gadget, I think wiser publishing heads will let the dust settle and find that kids still want books. It’ll just be up to us to make them so amazing and exciting inside those paper covers that kids will continue to choose to unplug their devices and plug in their minds.