Reading with Kids: Are eBooks as Good as Printed Books?

feb6istory 300x199 Reading with Kids: Are eBooks as Good as Printed Books?We’re inundated with technology. For better or worse, it’s everywhere including how we read. The popularity of eBooks is growing among adults and kids alike and for good reason. It’s tough to beat the convenience and the immediacy of having lots of reading material on one slim, portable device. However, when it comes to kids and eBooks, we have to wonder if this electronic, touch screen responsiveness is good for their developing brains? Or are traditional printed books better for young readers who are building their literacy skills? Those are difficult questions to answer, but here are some points to consider.
Technology Allows for More
Early education specialists see both pros and cons of what eBooks can offer. The technology allows for more interactivity, like Q and A’s to promote understanding as well as animations instead of static images and an audio track to read the book to kids. These are all huge advantages over printed books. However, eBooks may discourage the patience that traditional books teach and require. Plus, if there’s too much animation in an eBook, it’s not really a book — it’s more like a TV show.
Also, eBooks may discourage parent-child interaction. Parents may not feel obligated to read to their kids if there’s an eBook voice to do it for them, and research suggests that they’re less likely to talk to kids about eBooks than printed books.
The Cool Factor
While most kids have a natural love of books and want to learn how to read, some simply don’t. However, those same kids love to play with iPads, so eBooks may be extremely beneficial for kids who are averse to reading, especially if they’re reading eBooks with more interactive features. However, reading an eBook is still technically screen time, which according to the American Association of Pediatrics, is something that kids should have limited access to. The AAP suggests limiting it to less than two hours a day for kids.
Financial Pros and Cons
If you have an ereader at home, buying eBooks is typically less expensive than buying printed books because you’re paying for only the copyright and not for actual materials. Plus, many municipal libraries have eBook collections from which their patrons can borrow. These are fantastic because not only are they free to read, but they’ll never rack up overdue fines, as they just delete themselves from your ereader when your borrowing period has ended. However, lots of school libraries are already heavily invested in printed books and may not have the capital to purchase eBooks and enough ereaders for students. Schools that can make a bigger move to eBooks and ereaders, though, have access to many more titles as compared with printed books.
A Verdict
Ultimately, both eBooks and printed books are great learning tools when they are used properly. There’s definitely a place for both in developing early literacy skills and teaching kids to love reading. Parents want to be sure that they are choosing high quality eBooks for their kids, such as the ones you’ll find at iStorybooks. Also, parents should remember that a device, no matter how advanced it is, is not a substitute for reading time and interaction with their children. Whether it’s with eBooks or printed books, encouraging kids gives them a lifetime of fruitful and enjoyable education.

Daycare or Nanny? The Pros and Cons of Each

science math games 300x208 Daycare or Nanny? The Pros and Cons of EachWe’re so thankful for maternity leave (and paternity leave!) for giving us baby bonding time and allowing us to get used to being parents. The time flies, though, and before you know it, your job beckons. Going back to work means that you need to find someone to care for your little one during the day.
Some lucky parents have it made: they have family members who can watch after the baby. However, for most working parents, the childcare question comes down to two options: daycare or a nanny. The right choice for you and your family depends on a number of factors. Here are the pros and cons of each.
Daycare
Pros
One of the biggest pros of daycare is cost — depending on where you live and what specific rates you’re given, daycare can be half as much as a nanny. Daycares also have tons of great toys and lots to do; they’re a stimulating environment for kids of all ages.
This setting also teaches kids right away the importance of getting along with other kids, waiting their turn, and learning good social skills. Also with daycare, you know when it opens and when it closes, and if one of the daycare employees happens to call in sick for the day, you’re not stuck taking a personal day to stay home with your baby.
Cons
A big downside of daycare is the limited one-on-on time that your child will get. Daycare staff are typically busy with lots of kids at once, meaning they’re not able to spend a lot of individual time with any one child. Also, daycares are notorious breeding grounds for all sorts of viruses. Sending your child to one may mean a lot of sick days. Plus, when your child is in daycare, you have to provide all the essentials: diapers, extra clothes, and food.
Nanny
Pros
With a nanny, you know that your child will get lots of individualized attention. You can ask your nanny to help you enforce certain behaviors or help teach your child certain things — they’re your employee, so you can guide the interactions. All of the things your nanny will need are already at your house, too, so there’s no hauling supplies from your home to daycare. Plus, you know exactly who is with your child.
Another plus with a nanny is that you’re not exposing your child to the myriad germs present in all daycare facilities, which means they’re a lot less likely to get sick. (Yes, they’ll get exposed to germs in preschool, but a three year old is much better equipped to fight off illness than a three month old.) Finally, if your nanny is flexible, you may have a reliable babysitter for evenings.
Cons
Of course, hiring a nanny is considerably more expensive than daycare — all that one on one attention comes at a premium. There’s also the time you need to spend to find the right person, so that means posting a job, sifting through résumés, and interviewing.
A big downside of having a nanny is that you’re dependent on one person who can become unavailable with no warning. Illness, car troubles, or other emergencies can crop up in your nanny’s life, all of which can suddenly leave you with no one to take care of your child while you need to work.
Is a nanny or daycare best? Ultimately, the best decision for you depends on your budget and your approach to child rearing. You’ll find parents who swear by daycare, and you’ll also find parents who insist that a reliable and trusted nanny is the only way to go. But when you’re deciding who will care for your child, the correct choice is the one that feels right for you and your family.

iStoryBooks App to Provide Teachers Free Premium Children’s eBooks Subscriptions

With More Than Six Million Downloads, the iStoryBooks App Encourages Interactive Reading in the Classroom; App Also Updated with Five New eBooks and UI Enhancements

FREMONT, Calif. – The iStoryBooks app that provides interactive children’s eBooks and has more than six million downloads is now offering free premium subscriptions to teachers to further encourage interactive classroom reading with children. Available for Android, iOS and Windows, the app was also recently updated with five new eBooks and user interface enhancements.

Top 10 Activities for Babysitters and Kids

iStock 000002455709XSmall 300x199 Top 10 Activities for Babysitters and KidsWhen you’re babysitting, you want to do everything you possibly can to avoid hearing those two dreaded words: “I’m bored!” Rather than plopping the kids down in front of the TV and turning on yet another episode of whatever Nick Jr. or Disney Jr. show they happen to be obsessed with at the moment, be creative! Here are ten ideas for great activities for babysitters and kids to do together.

  1. Make a fort.

How To Hire A Babysitter

iStock 000022274546XSmall 300x224 How To Hire A BabysitterWhether you’re a new parent or a mom and dad with years of child-rearing experience, it can be nerve wracking to leave your baby at home with someone else. You want to make sure you’re not just leaving your child with anyone who says they’re willing to babysit. It’s got to be someone you trust — someone who is great with kids, who will treat your little one well, and who will make a wise and fast decision if something should go awry.
Fortunately, hiring a babysitter is not all that complicated. In fact, it’s a lot like hiring an employee for any other position. Your family is the company, and you’ve got a job opening! How can you hire a great babysitter? Here are five steps to follow.
1. Find Qualified Candidates
The first step is to find people who are interested in babysitting your children, and this can be done in a few ways. You should definitely ask friends who have kids if they can recommend a great sitter — someone they already like and trust. Be aware, however, that if your friends already have a great sitter, they may not be willing to share!
You can also post a help wanted ad. A posting on Craigslist will get seen by many people, but a better choice may be the online student job board of a local college or university. If you go the latter route, it’s a good idea to specify that you’d prefer a sitter who is majoring in early childhood education. That way, you’re more likely to get someone who is not only great with kids, but who can teach them useful fundamentals as well.
Finally, sites like Sittercity.com can match you with available sitters in your area. You may need to pay a small membership fee to get the most out of the site, but if you find someone great, it will be well worth it.
2. Interview
Once you find some possible sitters, it’s time to interview them. You will want to ask about their babysitting experience and what a typical babysitting day has been like for them. Also inquire about how they’ve handled tough situations in the past, and play what-if: what if your child got sick suddenly, what if your child won’t listen, won’t eat, won’t go to sleep, and so on.
Ask about CPR training and first aid. It’s not unreasonable to require recent Red Cross certification for those. Make sure they’re available when you need them to be. Finally, check that they’re comfortable with any specific requirements that you might have, such as cloth diapers.
3. Check References
Before you agree to hire a babysitter, ask for babysitting references and check them; talk to at least two other families who have trusted him or her with their children. When you’re on the phone, ask if this person is trustworthy and reliable, if they would hire him or her again, and if they have any reservations about you hiring him or her. It’s also a good idea to look up this person’s social media presence, as that can give you a good idea about whether or not they’re a responsible individual. Finally, you may want to do a background check, though it may not be necessary if you have solid references.
4. Train
Once you’ve found the right person, it’s a good idea to do a dry run before leaving them at home alone with your child. Go over the house rules, including what foods are OK, where things like first aid and meds are, any allergy information, and what’s off limits. Once you walk your new sitter through your routine, let him or her interact with your child for a little while, either when you’re in the house (but doing other things) or when you run out for a short errand.
5. After a Few Weeks, Evaluate
How’s it going? Are your kids happy, and is your new sitter happy? If so, great: it looks like you’ve got a perfect fit. However, if there’s any unhappiness or tension, it’s wise to talk about it sooner rather than later to resolve the issue. However, trust your instincts and go with your gut. If things aren’t working out, you’ll want to let your sitter know. Don’t feel badly — these things happen, and it’s worth starting over to find a better sitter for your kids.
Hiring a babysitter is definitely a process, but it’s worth doing to find a great person to watch your kids when you can’t be home. Follow these steps, and with any luck, you and your kids will develop a relationship with a caring, helpful sitter who can work with your family for several years.

Assessing Your Child’s Reading Level

assess 300x199 Assessing Your Childs Reading LevelOne of the most essential things to understand when raising your child is trying to determine their reading level. This enables parents and teachers to create a foundation from which to build on. There are many tests out there that claim to be able to measure your child’s reading level.
But the question is not about knowing the next exact level – it is about understanding just what reading is and where your child is in this process. If you have not stopped to consider this important part of the process, now is a good time.
Reading is not about just knowing how letters and words are formed and what the words mean, which most assessment tests measure. It’s about understanding what your child reads and its importance.
If you think that a child is not able to understand certain concepts at a higher or deeper level, ask yourself when the last time your child said something that had you wondering, “Where did they get that idea from?!” Imaginary friends often come from books as well as television programs or Internet videos. What is important is connecting reading to ideas.
There are three major groups that need to be assessed before reaching a conclusion about your child’s reading level: word recognition, fluency, and comprehension. Your child needs to know the words they see, connect a string of words into a meaningful idea, and understand the idea. It is not about knowing a lot of words as knowing a lot of words does not make one a good reader. What’s more significant is if they can put the words together and understand a complete thought.
When reading a simple storybook such as Cinderella, a child understands what a princess is and her importance. This may cause you to pause, but a child has no desire to want to be a bad princess or a poor princess. They understand.
Another example is the storybook The Ugly Duckling. They may not see themselves as ugly but can relate to the idea of not being accepted by their peers. They understand the importance of that as well.
Several very important points need to be made when determining your child’s reading level. The first is you do not have to do it alone. You can get assistance from your local school, or assistance may be available at your local library. Know your limitations concerning this because it is vital for your child.
Another point is to not to use your adult mind as the evaluative tool for the assessment. In other words, consider the developmental and analytical stages of your child. Everyone wants to believe they have an exceptional child in the academic sense, but different children grow at different rates.
Most children books have a number on the back of them to serve as a loose guide for the reading level of the book. Use this as a baseline, but not as absolute truth. Moreover, try not to compare them to other kids you may know. This will only discourage your child.
What’s most important is to remain enthusiastic about your child’s development and willingness to read. You never want to do anything that will discourage them from reading more. If that means letting them read their favorite book over and over again, then that is okay. In the end, what’s important is that your kid is reading! If you allow your child to grow at their pace, their reading ability will develop normally.

What to Do When Your Child Doesn’t Like to Read

feb6istory 300x199 What to Do When Your Child Doesn’t Like to ReadEveryone has been to the bookstore or library at one time or another. When remembering the time you spent browsing, what was it that made you stop and pick up a book to look through?
It is not that reading is something most people prefer not to do, it is what they want to read that is the issue. With children, you need to consider they have limited reading skills and the number of books that they will be interested in is much smaller.
To help a child along the way to reading more, the first step is to discover what their interests are. Among the likely candidates are sports and sports figures, fantasy lands, and animal stories. There are the classic books such as Cinderella, The Ugly Ducking, and Little Red Riding Hood which have been children’s favorites for decades.
Next, you can make it a group activity rather than having them read alone. It only requires one other person so they can read to someone rather to themselves. This method also gives them a security blanket of sorts if they run into words they do not know or cannot understand. Remember that the whole point of reading is comprehension, not simply reciting words.
In addition, you can be a direct influence in your child’s life by reading yourself. Children are great imitators of behavior, and even though they may not curl up next to you and read, when they see you reading consistently they will wonder why. You might say something such as, “I’m going to sit down and read for a while” to show them that you are interested in reading and it is important for them to know that.
A little thing but an important one is putting a paper book in their hands. More than a few people prefer to do their reading on a tablet or eReader. Placing something tangible (and unbreakable) into your child’s hands will give them “possession” of the book. This shows them that not only is the book theirs (if only for a while) but the story in the book is theirs. Both are true, though trying to explain the latter of these to them will likely not go over too well.
One thing that cannot be avoided is the competition with technology. To children who are surrounded by one type of display screen or another, the idea of everything that is important is visual, reading comes in a distant second place. The truth is, we struggle with this reality ourselves.
Encouraging your child to read may require some lifestyle changes on your part. Nothing has to be drastic, but giving up watching television or checking on your Facebook page for an hour a day is not unreasonable to ask. You’ll be surprised how quickly your kid picks up reading after you make these changes.

The Benefits of Having Educational Apps On Your Android Phones

iStock 000012204715XSmall The Benefits of Having Educational Apps On Your Android Phones Having an Android phone nowadays and maximizing its full potential is just one of the great benefits of having this powerful platform in mobile technology. Aside from downloading the essential apps, games, music and videos to amuse a childs creativity, another useful factor that can greatly contribute to a childs sensible character and mind development is to download educational apps which will not only educate but help mold their character, values, integrity and good behavior. Game apps may keep their mind preoccupied but it does not teach a child proper education and traditional values.

Kids Games Under 5 – Tips to Engage Your Child in Reading

iStock 000013958964XSmall Kids Games Under 5   Tips to Engage Your Child in ReadingIn the past few decades as people start to live busier and busier lives and incorporate more and more technology into their existence, a concept that has been to a degree lost by society is the idea of storytelling. iStoryBooks.co merges technology and the world’s oldest tradition together to provide a wholesome environment with which to become your own storyteller to your children. At any place in any time.

Storytelling allows children to form ideas about such abstract concepts as moral responsibility, gender roles, heroic attributes, teamwork, value of the elderly and those attributes which are to be avoided. But we certainly know that finding time to incorporate these stories traditionally can be difficult.

Lets Turn Our Kids Online Sessions Into Great Learning Opportunities!

Fun and Cool Games Lets Turn Our Kids Online Sessions Into Great Learning Opportunities!Are you worried about your kids and how much time they spend online  looking for fun and cool games? Do you think they are wasting their time? Don’t be…what we, as adults must understand that times change. It is no longer a common thing to put a pen to paper, everything is done online and it much rarer to sit down as a family and play a traditional family board game. Don’t dismay, you’re not alone, many parents are sitting at home like us trying to figure out how to get our kids outside and play more instead of sitting in a zombie like way in front of the screen.