I try not to reblog and make wordy posts much, but this needs to be passed on. You can click the image to head to the article if you’re not really interested in the story I have to tell, but what’s the fun in that?
So I used to love reading as a kid. My nose was either in a book or a game, sometimes I’d forget to eat as time passed by, I was completely lost in the world of the book. I’m pretty sure my parents had to literally grab a book out of my hands on a few occasions so I’d go to sleep, and even then I’d just crawl under the covers with a flashlight and open it up again.
As I grew older, the internet became more widely accessible, instead of opening a book I logged online, so I kinda lost sight of what made books so fantastic. I’d pick one up occasionally to read but to my young mind, a book that never changed and you only had so many of them, compared to an endlessly expanding world of new things to discover on the internet, there was really no contest.
Nowadays, all kids do is sit on their parents’ iPads and play stupid games like Angry Birds, which teaches you one simple thing, that flinging things at other things makes them fall over and occasionally explode. But have you actually sat with a kid and introduced a game like that to them? All you get is a constant stream of questions that you can’t even answer yourself. Why do the birds want to hit the pigs? What did the pigs do? Why do they look so mean? Most adults don’t understand that a good story can keep kids entertained for far longer than a simple game about birds. Why do kids believe in Santa Claus for so long? He’s always watching, always making a list and checking it twice, all of this adds to the “story” of Santa Claus. But books, right? Who buys books anymore, when we’ve got the internet at our fingertips?
And hey! Kindles have books, right? Most devices nowadays have Kindle apps, right? Sure, if you want to teach kids the workings of an interface designed for the adult mind. Not to mention, the number of books out there that kids shouldn’t be reading. It’s not just lazy to hand them a Kindle loaded with a few bucks and tell them to go nuts, but it’s irresponsible and bad parenting. So when I noticed this article today, detailing an iPad app designed around the Reading Rainbow show, which LeVar Burton himself is more than happy to present, you could say I was more than a little interested. One of the shows I used to absolutely love as a kid, now compressed into an iPad app that’s more than ready for kids to just start learning? This is too good to be true.
As I was reading through the article, I started imagining the kids’ reactions, LeVar just smiling away as he sees them beaming at the screen, hanging on every word. It reminded me when I was a kid, picking up my first few books, being completely engrossed by the world I had just opened. The things I learned, the places I explored! I finished the article and… I started crying. I’m still crying. I’ve neglected books for far too long, but now there’s a simple way for kids who have even a mild interest in reading to get started. No need for visits to the library, or $10-20 for one good book at Barnes and Noble. Just a few clicks in the App Store, and suddenly huge bookshelves full of age-appropriate material is right in their hands. I couldn’t be happier.
Click LeVar’s smiling face up there if you want to read an article detailing the app. Or if not, that’s fine too. Either way… thanks for reading.