Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sesame Street eBooks Offer Kids a New Way to Read

With the popularity of Kindles, Nooks and iPads on the rise, it only makes sense that e-reading is becoming a reality for the preschool set as well as the jet set. To that end, Sesame Street has launched an eBookstore in tech partnership with Impelsys, Inc.

I had the opportunity to check out the site gratis in an effort to see exactly how it works and to gauge CC's interest in reading images on a screen that do for books what websites did for magazines and newspapers -- that is, give full-color, interactive representations of words and images.

If that sounds a little wonky, the actual process is not. The paid website ($3.99 per month or $39.99 per year) -- -- is super-easy to navigate, and the graphics appeal to young readers and listeners, including CC.

Yes, I said listeners. In addition to eBooks that kids read themselves, there are also audio eBooks and animated eBooks, which allow kids to interact with the stories.

At the click of a button, tykes can turn pages, zoom in on the screen, enlarge the image to full screen and even print pages. It's pretty awesome.

That means children can read at their own pace and at their own level. It also increases independence, as they work through the buttons and prompts. CC, in fact, tried to make off with my laptop in order to keep reading about Elmo and Abby Cadabby -- a definite mixed blessing.

There are more than 125 eBooks on the site, so the selection is nice. (Although, don't be surprised if your child wants to read the same book over and over again. That's what happened with CC.) There is also a Free eBook of the Month, if you and your kids just want to browse.

It's amazing to me just how closely eBooks resemble real, tangible books that are on CC's bookshelf at home. Of course, you have to fire up the computer to read these e-versions, but with kids like mine, who already know how to work an iPhone ... well, parents, welcome to the Digital Age.

The tykes already own it.

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