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Does reading on the iPad or Kindle count toward my kids' daily reading minutes, or would it be considered screen time?

So long as they're really reading, then it's legit. There isn't a lot of research about the impact of ereading on kids, but reading is the one activity that's consistently cited as universally beneficial for all aspects of kids' lives. Providing a broad selection of both print and electronic books is probably the best route toward general literacy skills. In general, if your kids are reading -- and not getting distracted by the highly interactive features some ebooks have -- then you should encourage them no matter which format they prefer. The best way to ensure that real reading is happening, stick to real books or basic ereaders with paper-like screens that don't download apps. According to the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, print and basic ebooks are better for "literacy-building experiences" than feature-rich, multimedia ebooks. If you want to make sure your kids are comprehending what they're reading, read with them or ask them to read to you.

Try these tips:

  • If your goal is literacy-building, choose basic ebooks and printed books.
  • To engage reluctant readers, choose enhanced books with multimedia features.
  • To help English-language learners, kids with special needs, and busy kids who don't have a lot of time, opt for audiobooks.
  • For times when you can't read to your kid, or for an occasional treat, consider allowing them to listen to books with the audio on. This can actually boost comprehension.
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