The Kindle HD

Back in October, I wrote a post about the Kindle vs. Paper.  Click here to read that post.

I received my 7″ Kindle Fire HD for Christmas, thank you Daddy.

I have had two months to play with it, read on it, download books for it, so I figured it’s time to review.

Kindle Free Time -- for my daughter

Kindle Free Time — for my daughter

The first day I had my Kindle Fire HD, I was able to pick and choose which books I wanted from my archived book list to go into the carousel.  That is the running list of programs, apps and books that you can flip through with a flick of the finger.

I quickly downloaded FB, Pinterest, my bank’s app, and Skype.  I was able to Skype with my brother and grandparents in Pittsburgh on Christmas night.  That just blew my mind.  We could have been on a laptop, but the Kindle allowed me to set it up for my six year old who was showing off her loot from Santa.  The looks on the faces of my grandparents was worth the cost alone.

I occasionally have issues with FB loading, but I think that is an inherit flaw to the FB app.  But I have been able to use the Kindle like a laptop with the exception of typing, and like my Android phone.  It also uses the same “swype” keyboard that I’m used to with my Android.

The biggest change I have noticed with the Kindle Fire HD is that my daughter loves it.  I subscribe to “Kindle Free Time” which is a service that allows my daughter to read books, play games, watch videos, etc.  Its only a couple bucks a month, and it is well worth the cash.  The thing I really like about this feature is that it creates a separate user profile for her in which I can control what she has access to and how long she is playing on it.

Because she is six, I did not give her permission to the web.  At all.  There also is a separate code that needs to be typed in when she attempts to buy things online.  That soon proved to be a problem with her downloading apps without permission on my Dad’s iPad.  I can also buy books for her on Amazon and add those books to her carousel only, and I don’t have to wade through a ton of kiddie books to find what I need.

She loves it.  I mean, really loves it.  It took her no time at all to figure out how to get to the stuff she likes.  She occasionally complains about the screen time settings.  I have a 2 hour per day time limit on it, along with settings on how much time can be used on apps, and how much time can be spent on videos, reading is unlimited.

She blew my mind the other day when she figured out how to get the books to read TO her.  The words light up as they are read.  Although I like to read her books, this is just another way for her to hear the words and see the proper spellings.

My Kindle carousel

My Kindle carousel

For me, the best thing has honestly been that I can read in different fonts, colors and styles.  I no longer need a light for my Kindle because when it is in the “black” setting, the words are white and the background is black.  Not a lot of light is generated, and my husband isn’t complaining about my little LED light that I used to read at night with my older Kindle.

In addition, I can change the font size , just like on an older Kindle, but I can also change the text font.  This is of tremendous value to someone who has severe eye problems.

I have watched videos and Netflix and I have had no problems at all with buffering or it starting and stopping the video over and over again.

I have shopped on it, even for more than books, and again, no problems.

The only complaint, is that I have to charge it everyday.  I could go a week or so on my old Kindle without recharging.  But I understand that to be in full, glorious color, and to run the apps that it runs, it uses up a ton of battery.

Another issue is the fact that I can’t categorize my books.  I frequently “book hunt” and buy several books at a time, mostly self published and usually free.  On my previous model, I had several categories of books, and I would assign the new books by category so I would have a clue later on as to what I purchased.

With the Kindle Fire HD, everything is listed on the bookshelf, and they can be chosen from the “cloud” and downloaded to the device one book at a time, usually in less than a minute.  All of the books downloaded can show up in the carousel, and sometimes I have to wade through books to find one that I downloaded awhile ago, and want to read now.  I can remove the book from the carousel when I am done reading it, but with my reading habits, this isn’t really ideal.

I have also been able to put books not bought on Amazon on to my Kindle Fire HD, but it is a bit more tricky than with the old USB to device route.  I had difficulty downloading the Windows inputs needed to get it from the laptop to the Kindle Fire HD.  But I started emailing the books to my Kindle address, and they pop up, most of them are without the cover art, a few minutes later.

Because I read from Smashwords in addition to authors sending me books for review, I was glad to finally be able to figure this one out.

My Kindle now goes with me everywhere.  And even though I don’t always have internet access when I leave the house, I’m kind of glad it is not like an iPad that is tied to a data plan.  Probably saves me more money in the long run and my daughter is “forced” to read books when we aren’t home.

Overall, immensely pleased with my Kindle HD, just like I knew I would be.

Kiddie Lit

Looks exciting!!

The first book I learned to read on my own was Fox in Sox by Dr. Seuss. I haven’t read it probably since that time. I vaguely remember that the world seemed to “turn on” once I learned how to read. Suddenly, every thing around me seemed to make more sense. I don’t know how to explain it in any more detail than that. It was like going from regular TV to HD. And I haven’t let up since.

More about my early reading experiences can be found on the About section.

My daughter is now of the “learning to read” age, and they are teaching it very differently in school. I never learned “sight words”. I don’t know if it was because I was in Catholic schools, but we did strictly phonics. My daughter is in public schools, and they are doing a combo of both, “sight words” and phonics. Either way, she is doing very well.

I remember having Rainbow Brite books on tape, and reading along with tape when I was a kid. Now it seems like kids have no end of electronic pens, iPad apps, etc to help them learn to read. I don’t know if it was a combo of school or us reading to her or her patching things together on her own, but she is learning to read quite rapidly.

Makes me think about the books I loved as a kid and the ones she loves right now.

I loved the Dr. Seuss books. I loved the way the words just rolled off my tongue. I loved the way it didn’t make sense, but then it did. Hop on Pop; Red Fish, Blue Fish; The Cat in the Hat; I loved the world of Dr. Seuss as a kid. My daughter has a few of those titles, hasn’t started to read them  herself yet, but she loves it when I read it fast and then sound silly. That’s my girl.

I loved the Bernstein Bear books. And Little Critter. I don’t have any for my daughter, but the Bernstein Bears are now a cartoon series on Sprout.  Oh, and Little Golden Books.  I loved those books.  Cheap, easy to read, but don’t hold up well over time.

I love the books by Jamie Lee Curtis for my daughter. We have When I Was Little..; It’s Hard to be Five; and my fav Big Words for Little People. I like the way they are written with humor and illustrated in a way that really sinks in for her.  Who thought a teen scream queen would turn into an awesome children’s author?

My daughter’s favorite book right this second is Silverlicious by Victoria Kann. She wants this one read to her 24/7. I’m trying to get her to read some of it on her own, and she is getting there. Maybe Santa will turn into a librarian this year.

I have no idea what other book series there are out there for little kids these days.  All of my friends have younger kids, and mostly boys.  I am hoping to acquire a Kindle Fire for Christmas so I can download free books for her as well.  Not that I can’t already do that on the Kindle I have, its just that its not in color and the gray scale really won’t cut it for her.

Any suggestions on first reading series for beginning little girl readers??

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