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The Gift Of Reading In A Child’s Life

My brother and I had a friendly argument recently. I don’t know if your family members are like mine, but sometimes we remember things differently. Perspective, and sometimes even a pinch of self-importance, can change the way a memory is perceived.

You were never hit by the books! – he insisted.

We lived in a very small house that my dad had built with a little help from his friends. Two small bedrooms and one bath for a family of five was actually quite a luxury in my neighborhood, and we even had a built-in shoe rack / book case on the “plywood wall” next to one of the beds. We didn’t really own many shoes or many books, so three small shelves were more than plenty.

I remember I daydreamed about owning new books. We read the same old, beat-up books over and over, because we loved to read and that was what we had at our disposal. Thankfully, small the collection included the Bible and some English books my dad had probably inherited over the years. I didn’t get to own a book I wanted until I was a teenager and my aunt’s friend bought me one. It was one of the best days of my life and one I’ll treasure until my memory fades.

The gift of reading in a child's life

My brother and I grew up reading the old books and whenever there was an earthquake, or some sort of commotion, the books would hit us in our sleep. He thinks it only happened to him, but I vividly remember being startled in the middle of the night, and waking up to a bed filled with shoes and printed stories.

It really doesn’t matter, but if you’ve ever had a discussion with your brother and you’re two years apart, you sometimes like proving each other wrong. The truth is that even if he’s right, the most important memory for me is the fact that my parents encouraged us to read and my brother and I inherited that love for the written word and the passion for learning.

I am so grateful for books and for the opportunity to read. The library was many kilometers away and our shoes were worn out, at best, but the journey was worth walking. There’s nothing like getting lost in a book… it is a great way to find yourself.

When I was around nine or ten, my mom was in college and she would bring books home that she’d borrow from her friends. Dale Carnegie, Wayne Dyer, Brian Tracy, John Gray… you name it. I would sneak out and read the books when she wasn’t looking and that was the beginning of my love for personal development books. It’s been a surreal journey to have come out of a slum to have met some of the self-help authors that helped me survive my early years, and to even have had the privilege to be in the same industry and even share the stage with them!

I may have never been hit by the books, but the books sure hit me. They gave me inspiration, motivation, and very needed wisdom in my early years. I go back to them often – daily – for more. And I’ve instilled the love of reading in my kids, because it is a great way to awaken the senses and to stimulate our mental faculties.

I have always been committed to making sure they have plenty of books, in both English and Spanish. They’ve owned books since before they were born and our trips to the library have been countless.  Reading is one of the main ways my daughters and I bond and have fun together, because I’ve been intentional in positioning reading as a magical experience that goes well beyond bedtime.

But I’ll be honest: We have too many book cases and our closets are also filled with books. Some of these are like old friends, maybe even family to us, and we just can’t part with them. Many have sentimental value. Others are great for reference, spiritually or for homeschool.

I’ve been slowly transitioning to electronic reading. It’s very convenient for reading my scriptures and for reading when I travel. It feels like I’ve been living on a plane lately.

I just recently found out that Kindle for Kids offers features that help to promote healthy reading, learning and exploration including:

Dictionary Lookups – Kids can easily access definitions from the New Oxford American Dictionary without even leaving the page.
Vocabulary Builder – When kids look up words on Kindle, they are automatically added to the Vocabulary Builder on their device. With Vocabulary Builder, they can use flashcards to learn the definitions and usage of words.

Family Sharing – Kindle devices let you easily share books with your spouse or partner and up to four children.

Word Wise – Short and simple definitions automatically appear above difficult words so kids can keep reading with fewer interruptions. Tap on a word to bring up a simple card with definitions, synonyms, and more.

I’m so grateful to have been provided a Kindle without sponsored screensavers for my darling girls, a kid-friendly cover (which happens to be purple and I actually kept), and a 2-year warranty to test out and review these incredible features. My daughters were pleasantly surprised when it came in the mail and very excited to play with their new reading device. Reading is fun for them and they absolutely love spelling!

And speaking of that, Amazon Kindle has partnered with Scripps National Spelling Bee this year to be the presenting sponsor of the yearly bee [finals are the week of May 24th). This is a wonderful partnership and I think it totally makes sense because readers are leaders and leaders are readers. And to be a great reader you must be a master of spelling – I’m sure you agree. Reading, spelling and vocabulary are critically important to a child’s lifelong achievement and well-being.

I interviewed two important people to make sure my review is accurate, so here are their thoughts for your enjoyment:

Elyssa F. Fernandez ~ 12 year old daughter and avid reader:

“I’ve always been drawn to books. I love reading adventure, history, fiction, nonfiction, you name it! However, in our generation, I have seen a decline in book-lovers who are eager to learn. Everything new and upcoming is online: online shopping, talking on your phone (sometimes even in the same room as the other person), and virtually everything we used to do in person. 

Books are being viewed as old-fashioned and unpopular, but we can still encourage reading in an effective way. The kindle for kids is a new way to introduce reading in a fun, engaging way.

My favorite feature on the kindle is that you only need to swipe to unlock.  I no longer have to worry about losing my books, finding space for them in my two crammed bookshelves, or getting my books dirty or wet. 
While reading, you no longer need to have a dictionary by your side. Actually, you don’t even have to leave the screen! Instead, the meaning of an unfamiliar word will pop up right then and there, with a simple explanation.

Another feature I absolutely adore is that when you’re doing a book report, instead of taking notes, you can highlight sections of the book as you read. When you’re finished, the things you highlighted will appear in a section called ‘My Clippings’. That way, you can do school projects on the go! Books open a world of possibilities, and now everyone can enjoy them in a comfortable, easy way!”

Elisha F. Fernandez ~ 13 year old daughter, certified bookworm:

“I love books! Novels, picture books, non-fiction, history, the possibilities are endless for snagging a good read. My mom has actually caught me reading books in bed and there were complaints of book reading in school years under (inside my desk!) My mom has instilled a love of books in my life and the love of reading I have is one of the greatest gifts she has given me. We have a lot of books, and it can be overwhelming trying to find something to read with so many options, plus we are running out of space. So one of my newest best friends is our brand-new Kindle reader.

I love how our Amazon Kindle is portable. It’s awesome how you can carry literally hundreds of books on the go, anywhere! I really like how you can analyze each word and learn the definition in just one click. It allows me to easily learn new words, and it’s so fun to learn new meanings!

My number one favorite feature about the Kindle for Kids is how you can set reading goals, making reading a fun, hands-on experience.

I think the kindle is perfect for home, road trips, and even when on the plane. No more losing track of where you left off, and no more Fear Of Losing Books (FOLB)!”

Their vocabulary and spelling is “reading at work,” and I hope you were able to feel their excitement! I realize that not all kids adore reading and see it as fun, and that’s why I partnered with Amazon Kindle to let you know about Kindle for Kids. An electronic reading device can add sparkle and ease to reading, so everyone can enjoy it more. I am totally using my online influence to turn everyone into a book nerd!

And speaking of book nerds I love, my brother loves fiction, I love non-fiction, and we both love reading on our Kindle devices, and traditional books, too. The gift of reading in a child’s life is precious. Reading can really impact a child’s life in a positive manner – it hits you with intellectual knowledge, wisdom, and invaluable life skills.

What are your thoughts on the new Amazon Kindle for Kids? Share all of your reading preferences with me below. Un abrazo!

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