Kids and Digital Reading

iPad native child

Kids are splashing around e-ink in India these days. A growing section of young readers are cutting their teeth on e-readers and parents are only too happy to let them savour the magic of written words in a medium they are comfortable with. With a growing number of e-readers and digitised reading content being available on the Indian market, some of them home-grown too, this is probably an inevitable trend.
Let’s take EC Media International (EC) for instance. This Bangalore-based company launched Wink E-Reader last year and has found tremendous response to it. Now EC is shifting into the vernacular reading space, offering content in 15 different Indian languages and is targeting young readers also.
Ravi DeeCee, founder and director, DC Group and partner EC Media International, is keen on hooking the young ones. “We make the reading experience more interactive. There are animations, illustrations that are converted totally with soundtracks and everything, there are quiz segments and jigsaw puzzles added to the digitised content to make a child more interested and involved with what he or she is reading,” he says.
But does this impair reading habits in anyway? Gautam John of Pratham Books, who’s been a strong advocate of social publishing and digitised content, feels that it’s the contrary, actually. “Reading isn’t linked to the medium. Here, content can be frequently updated. And with faster broadband, 3G speed, low costs of digital content and devices, we’ll see this trend growing in India in future.” Brij Singh, founder and CEO of Apptility, who also digitised Pratham Book’s free content for downloading into iPads and other e-readers, backs John on his take on e-books. Singh has two daughters aged three and a half and six, and a 14-year old nephew who are hooked to e-readers. “There is a very high recall factor for stuff they read on Kindle or on iPad. Due to the animations and the audio impact, they tend to remember details they e-read. It’s great for kids just about to start reading. Books take some getting used to. Here, because of the audiovisual cues, there is quicker appreciation for words. And also kids have a natural curiosity about new media. They love the novelty of it and it provides them with an added exposure to written words,” says Singh.
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