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Cate Pane Headshot

Why I Don't Read Digital Books to My Kids

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I miss the stack of books on my nightstand.

Now, don't get me wrong; I love my Kindle. For a person with a great love of a good read and lack of impulse control, the world of "one-click" digital books is an ardent bibliophile's paradise.

Nevertheless, I miss actually turning physical pages. I miss the smell of the paper. I miss the feel of the book in my hands.

Last night, I took stock. I have several books in my Kindle that I haven't read. You see, they are not beckoning me from cyberspace the way that books stacked on my nightstand do. I feel digitally disorganized. I need a tangible cue that I can follow.

I hereby resolve to take a "one-click" vacation!

This brings me to the subject of digital books for young children. A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center demonstrated that 81% of parents of minor children believed that it is "very important" for their children to read printed books. Another 13% believe that it is "somewhat important."

Furthermore, 81% of all adults also believe that reading printed books to children is superior to reading digital books.

Developmentally, the sensory motor experience provided by a digital book can never rival that of a printed book. Reading a printed book to your child affords them the opportunity to touch, smell, (sometimes taste!) and see the actual book in its entirety. They learn to turn the pages (a motor skill that is more complex than "swiping" or "clicking").

I have a box filled with favorite books read to my boys when they were quite young. Many of them have "dog-eared" pages, finger prints, little tears. Just touching them brings back innumerable memories of hours spent with each of them on my lap as I read these books time and time again. I laugh when I remember how they would always know when mom was tired and tried to skip a page or two.

That book box of memories is absolutely priceless to me.

I just can't wrap my brain around a "digital library" of books read to my young children. You can't put it in a box. You can't pass it on to your children when they have kids.

I need to rediscover the tactile joy of turning paper pages. That said, I resolve to begin reading a stack of books on my nightstand. You see, if I am very, very quiet, I can almost hear them calling my name.