I think the older girls liked their gift, and I hope they are having fun downloading books onto their Nooks. And I can definitely say it was a good gift for M.
M has some vision problems... nothing that affects his day to day life very much... but he does have double vision at times, and has a very difficult time reading books with regular sized fonts. He does much better with large-print books, but there are a limited number of them at our library... and most of them aren't books he'd necessarily be interested in reading or be able to understand. (Most of them are adult books...) Even with a large print book, having so many words on a page is hard for him and he tends to get lost in the words... so for a long time he's listened to books on CD. But again, there are limited number of titles available at our library, and books on CD are usually much more expensive to buy than a book (at least the ones he wants to read are...) so he only owns a few of them.
The Nook has made all the difference in the world to M. He says it is his favorite Christmas gift, and is already four chapters into a book he'd wanted to read, but wasn't available on CD, or in large print.
Here's what makes the Nook such a cool piece of assistive technology for us...
-The screen is easy on M's eyes, and he can adjust the font size. He's got the font adjusted large enough that he can see it easily, and there aren't too many words on each "page"... making it possible for him to easily read it.
-It saves his page for him. He used to get VERY frustrated trying to find his page in a book. He often couldn't find a bookmark, or the bookmark would fall out when he picked the book up. If your memory isn't dependable (so you can't remember your page number) and reading is difficult (so you can't quickly scan each page to see if you've already read it) finding your page in a book can be a real chore. Having the page saved automatically probably seems like a little thing... but it's a big thing to M, and helps make his experience of reading an enjoyable one.
-It's quick and easy to download a book to read. (And cheaper than buying the book!) Because M can get so overloaded in stores, especially stores that are "busy" visually (like bookstores), it can be hard for him to shop. There are too many choices, too much going on, and too many things that are too expensive, not appropriate for his age, etc. Now I can easily get him a book he'd like to read without ever leaving the house or having to take him into a large, over-stimulating bookstore. (And I can do it immediately, which is wonderful... no waiting for the book to ship!)
I love to read and have felt sad for M, knowing that for him, reading was not the uncomplicated, enjoyable, experience that it is for the rest of the family. I think the Nook is going to make a huge difference in terms of him enjoying reading, and being able to read just about any book he wants! (Not just what I can find on CD, or in large print!!)
I'm so excited for him...