Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Kindle Paperwhite with FreeTime for Kids

Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers Amazon have announced that the new version of their Kindle Paperwhite eReader will have FreeTime for Kids functionality to tailor the device to children.

The Kindle Paperwhite is an eInk device with a light so it can be read in the dark - the modern version of reading under the covers with a flashlight! There's a new updated version coming out on September 30th which is available for pre-order now.

Amazon have said that the FreeTime for kids feature for the Paperwhite is coming soon. They already have a FreeTime service for the Kindle Fire which offers parental controls for the tablet, and also the Kindle FreeTime Unlimited subscription service for access to Kindle Fire content for kids. FreeTime for Paperwhite is a new service tailored to the eReader.

Working out how to share books within a family can be tricky. You want each child in the family to have access to only age appropriate content but you also want siblings and parents to be able to share books.

Kindle FreeTime includes profiles for children that allow you to specify which books from a parent's account they have access to. Each child can have a named profile and will just see their selected titles. This is a great idea.

I have an older Kindle. My 6 year old does use it but it's hard for him to find his books amongst mine. I like the idea of being able to make suitable titles available to him and then just letting him choose what to read.

Kindle FreeTime also has a progress monitoring and reward system. Parents can set reading goals for their kids and kids can achieve badges when they reach milestones.

There's also another kid-friendly new feature. The Vocabulary Builder allows readers to build up a list of words that they have looked up in the dictionary. They can then go through the words as flashcards checking whether they have mastered them. 

The new Kindle Paperwhite 2013 model has an upgraded specification with a better screen, but it's the FreeTime features that will make it appeal to parents who want to encourage their kids' love of reading.

There's no mention of the Kindle FreeTime Paperwhite service being available for older models.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Fire for Kids

It can be hard to decide whether to get a dedicated eReader or a tablet that kids can use for reading and other activities too. Some families will choose both and use them for different purposes. Although a multi-purpose device is appealing there are reasons why an eReader can make sense for children.

The display for the Paperwhite is designed to be easy on the eye. My older son is turning into a real bookworm. As he gets older I'll be encouraging him to read eBooks rather than physical books that take up space. If an eInk device can makes reading more comfortable then that's a significant advantage.

Tablets are also quite heavy. Amazon points out that the new Kindle Paperwhite is 30% lighter than the iPad Mini. This is an important consideration for kids. It can be uncomfortable to hold a tablet up to read for long periods of time.

Another factor is having a dedicated device. You can use the parental controls on the Kindle Fire to control access to other media, but having a separate device just for reading may help kids to focus.

The battery on a Kindle Paperwhite lasts weeks rather than hours. This means that your much less likely to find that it needs charging just when your child needs to do their bedtime reading.

Buy: Kindle Paperwhite 2013 model

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