V-reader technology advances reading skills for youth

By: Malaynia Spiva

With the world’s technology advancing every second, Americans may feel the need to stay with it or catch up if we find ourselves left behind.

The V.Reader is VTech’s newest learning tool for children three to seven years old. It is a replica of the Kindle or Nook a child may see his or her parent using, but with children’s books.

Many may believe that these advances are going to help children in the long run by keeping them sharp and high tech savvy. Is the way people learned years ago the right way, and are these new technologies robbing children of the basic fundamentals many have come to know?

One may find many disadvantages with the V.Reader. Children three to seven are at the stage where their parents sit down with them, reading to them, pointing and pronouncing words if they struggle. The V.Reader has the potential to take away this parent-child interaction.

The V.Reader teaches the child if they have a hard time pronouncing a word to tap the word once and the V.Reader will pronounce it for him. This product can potentially take away that valued time with a parent every child needs for his mental growth.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 31 percent of children aged three and under are already using computers. Sixteen percent use them several times a week, 21 percent can point and click with a mouse by themselves and 11 percent can turn on the computer without assistance.

Some adults may complain that a television teaching their kids is dangerous, but a learning tool can be just as dangerous if it is creating a distance between parents and children, a connection that can mold children into successful adults.

The complaints, many of which arise when the child is a little over the age of seven, of many adults are that children spend too much time in front of the television, playing video games, looking at a cell phone screen to text, or an iPod screen to pick a song.

Starting children off staring at a V.Reader screen at three years old may usher them into the age of video games, television and cell phones earlier.

“Their brains get used to too much auditory and visual stimulation — and in the absence of these stimulations, they do not know what to do with themselves,” said Mali Mann, M.D., adjunct clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. “They get anxious, restless, bored and aggressive.”

The V.Reader also has many advantages, such as teaching a child to read in an entertaining and interactive way. The V.Reader allows for more than 100 books to be downloaded onto the device. The purpose of the V.Reader is mainly for reading, but the product has a coloring book and a paint page for your child to be creative.

“The V.Reader has been selling pretty steady,” said Mike, a Toys“R”Us employee. “The closer we get to Christmas Day, the more we sell a day.”

The V.Reader sells for $55 at Toys”R”Us and is about $20 more expensive on VTech’s official website. Stories must be purchased individually at an average cost of $20 and a $16 case to protect the investment.