Try E-Books for Kids' Screen Time

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We try to limit the screen time for our young boys, whether television or computer, in favor of toys and books. So how to view having a computer read them a book?

That's one of the options we've tapped through our local library, which has an ever-growing selection of databases, online publications, and other resources available free to residents at home. Libraries have already been a great resource to me as a reporter, and now as a father.

For E-books, a favorite is TumbleBooks, which offers more than 100 storybooks, from Abra Cadabra and the Tooth Witch to Zoe Sophia's Scrapbook, which are read with the words highlighted to help kids read along. The pictures come straight from the books themselves, with perhaps a bit of action as elements from the illustration are moved around a bit. But it's an experience that's much like our reading a book to them.

TumbleBooks also offers audio classics for adults, and books that kids can read to themselves, which soon will be an option for our kindergartener. His elementary school also sent home a note recently with a password for its own account at TumbleBooks, or families can buy a yearlong membership for $30.

The library also offers E-books that can be downloaded to a notebook or portable player, or even burned to a CD. But those don't come with the pictures that our boys still crave.

Nothing's better than having a couple of youngsters snuggle up while we read a book on the couch. So we don't use TumbleBooks often, but the boys love it when we do. And when we need a break or are scrambling, it seems a benign choice for screen time.