Ramp Up Back to School Reading with a Kindle Paperwhite & FreeTime App

kindle paperwhite

How is back to school going for everyone? For us, it has been smooth sailing. In year’s past, the start of school was always tough on our oldest, because it meant getting back into reading.

But this year, our oldest son has not missed a beat with his reading as he practices a lot. Over the summer he really got into reading what he calls chapter books. These are stories he actually follows chapter by chapter and not the quick reads we have done in the past.

To help his interest, we were lucky enough to try out a Kindle Paperwhite and the FreeTime feature it has. While our son’s interest for holding a book and reading was good, holding a screen really blows up the interest level.

Like all Kindle devices, it’s easy on the eyes and meant for reading, not playing games or surfing the net.

Then add in the FreeTime app and this device is a major hit.

Available on all Kindle devices, the FreeTime application is a fun and engaging way to get your kids excited about reading. You can create individual profiles for each user, customize reading goals, select books and track progress against certain benchmarks. Basically it’s adding a little gaming to reading, which for kids can’t hurt.

For example, for reaching milestones such as ‘Read 1,000 pages’, readers can earn achievement badges, helping them stay motivated.

I personally like the Kindle Paperwhite because it’s much lighter than any e-book device I have used before. It feels like you are holding a book.

kindle paperwhite

Our two kids instantly took to it and each night before bed, we would swap in the Kindle over the usual books.

Over the summer, we read ‘Danny The Champion of the World’, as our oldest son loves Roald Dahl books.

We would take turns reading chapters as our youngest would listen in and keep track of the percentage on the lower right of the screen. That little number will get our boys to read for many years. It’s all the motivation they need to cruise through pages. Seeing that number climb to 100%.

I did set up a profile for our son so he can track his reading and the books he has on the go. Honestly, he hasn’t got that into it yet as I think he is not old enough to truly “own” the device. I still want to control how often he reads on it and be in the room when he does. But soon enough, I can see him disappearing with the device and reading for hours.

Kindle Paperwhite

So what are the details on this Kindle device? Glad you asked.

  • Higher resolution display (300 ppi) – with twice as many pixels.
  • Now with Bookerly, our exclusive font, hand-crafted from the ground up for faster reading with less eyestrain.
  • Built-in adjustable light-read day and night.
  • Unlike tablets, no screen glare, even in bright sunlight.
  • A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours.
  • Massive selection, lowest prices–over a million titles CDN$ 4.99 or less.
  • Lighter than a paperback, holds thousands of books.
  • Exclusive features help build your vocabulary, learn about characters, and connect with like-minded readers–all without leaving the page.
  • Read all you want with Kindle Unlimited–choose from over 800,000 titles on any device for just CDN$ 9.99 a month.

Like I already said, what I like best is just how light it is. When I get to read on it, it is perfect for the subway or throwing in your bag. Very light and compact. The battery lasts a long time as well. I think I have fully charged it four times since the start of the summer.

FreeTime Application

For those interested in the FreeTime app, which if you have kids you will be, here is more on that.

  • Before your child can use Kindle FreeTime on your Kindle, you need to create a Parental Controls password and create a profile for your child.
  • Kindle FreeTime automatically blocks access to the Kindle Store, the Experimental Web Browser, and Wikipedia. Children can only read books that you have added to their library.
  • Set your child’s Access to Achievements and Daily Reading Goal: By default, Access to Achievements is turned On, which allows your child to see their Achievement Reports.
  • By default, Daily Reading Goal is set to 30 minutes.

It’s pretty easy to get set up and well, kids pick this stuff up way quicker than adults.

kindle paperwhite


Everything about the Kindle Paperwhite and the FreeTime App are positive for me. But like any other screen being introduced, you need to limit it, teach some discipline and of course, be involved. Don’t just set it up and hand it off to your kid. Make it fun. Do what we did and read on the Kindle together.

Honestly, the hardest part is picking what book to read next.

**While I was provided with this product for review, I want to clarify that opinions expressed in this post are my own.**