Skip to content


Digital Readers: eBooks Required

Digital Readers: eBooks Required

Recently, I’ve talked about the Alpha Generation (born 2010-2024). These are the kids who fill up our elementary schools today, and they are second-generation digital natives. To serve these readers, we need to change our goals:

From: Develop Readers


One stark fact stared us in the face: digital readers should have digital texts.

eBooks developed alongside the development of the personal computers. As computer design improved, the practicality of ebooks improved. The 1990s saw development of dedicated ebook readers. But the technology became mainstream when Amazon launched the Kindle reader in November, 2007. By 2010, ebooks outnumbered sales of hardcover books. 

For kids, the EPIC! App launched in 2013 and quickly became common in elementary libraries and classrooms. In 2020, kids read 1 billion books on the EPIC! App, mostly in school. We need to understand that they are already reading ebooks, and provide them digital texts for leisure reading. 


The ebook technology is simple, and yet…for children’s books, it’s complex. The basic ebook allows reflowable text. That is, the reader is allowed to increase or decrease font size and that forces some text to the pervious page or the next page. For children’s chapter books or novels, this is a perfect solution.

But children’s picture books need a different solution as a digital text. The images and text must remain together or much of the story’s meaning is lost. Sometimes, there’s text on one side of a double-page spread and an image on the other side. But more often, the text is overlaid or embedded into the image. This kind of text cannot reflow, or the story becomes muddled or meaningless.

Few engineers or technology people worried about this because it wasn’t the main market, and besides, they reasoned, kids shouldn’t be allowed screen time.

Alpha kids need those picture books 

In my first post, I looked at some of the traditional answers to the question of how do we develop readers: 

1) A household that has over 25 books will produce better readers.

2) 1000 Books. Some argue that kids need to experience 1000 books before kindergarten.

If we say that kids need to experience 1000 books before kindergarten, and we agree that Alpha kids need digital texts to become digital readers, THEN many of those 1000 books should be eBooks.

Of course, we’ll never replace print books, especially for those early years! But if reading is only presented as print books, then reading is at a disadvantage. Preschool kids know and understand technology. We must equate reading and technology! We must develop Digital Readers.

There’s no right or wrong here, but what if kids experience 250 eBooks and 750 print books? That would support our new goal of developing Digital Readers.

Read our blog series about kids reading ebooks:

Older Post
Newer Post

Leave a comment

Read More

Reading Mims House Books on Apps

Dec 5, 2023

Reading Mims House Books on Apps

Mims House cooperates with two reading apps to provide access to our full catalog of books. 3 Reasons Kids Read on a...
2024 Award-Winning Books

Nov 30, 2023

2024 Award-Winning Books

Mims House is thrilled to have two award-winning books this season.  The Eureka! NonFiction Book Award  The Californi...

About Darcy Pattison

Children’s book author and indie publisher DARCY PATTISON writes award-winning fiction and non-fiction books for children. Five books have received starred PW, Kirkus, or BCCB reviews. Awards include the Irma Black Honor award, five NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books, two Eureka! Nonfiction Honor book, two Junior Library Guild selections, two NCTE Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book, an Arkansiana Award, and the Susannah DeBlack Arkansas Children’s History Book
award. She’s the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award for Individual Artist for her work in children’s literature. Her books have been translated into ten languages.

Added to cart