E-Readers vs. Paperback/Hardback Books
As a teacher, I have not had that much experience with the use of technology incorporated into reading lessons. This could be because my only teaching experience thus far has been a tutoring position. In my position, I was given no technology to use whatsoever. No lap tops, no smart board, I did not even have a working desk top computer in my classroom. Just a teacher alone…with her dry erase board and markers. Had I been given these devices, I am sure I could have found ways to greatly improve the quality of what my students were required to read. The Best of Both Literacies really made me think how I could have improved my lesson plans.
For example, I had my low readers reading Where the Red Fern Grows and keeping a journal that included their feelings about the book, summaries of what they had read, and new vocabulary that they had researched. It would have been amazing to offer this assignment as a wordpress or blogspot document where the students could have responded to each other’s posts as we do in this class. I think that they would have gotten more out of their own reflections by reading what others had to say and engaging in detailed conversations about the book.
Another way to enhance the book choice with technology would have been to allow students to create digital timelines on the computer of of the book’s main events. Today’s youth are so technically savy, this type of assignment would have been much more appealing than my trusty markers and poster board. Just think of the clip art that could have been used to help document each event!
Upon finishing the book, it would have been appropriate for students to view clips of the movie Where the Red Fern Grows to do a comparing and contrasting assignment between the two. The class could have created a map on the smart board detailing the ways the story and movie were alike and different, allowing each student to have input on the class map. We did this assignment, however, we had to improvise by using the white board and markers due to the lack of technology available.
I feel like there are many ways to include technology in reading in today’s classroom. Any way that enhances the reading experience, especially to struggling readers, is welcomed by me. I think the key to getting the students I worked with on task and motivated lays in the presentation of the lesson. If you approach a technologically minded student with too many pen and paper assignments, you are going to lose his/her interest. Where as, you can also over kill the technology angle by not supplying enough down time from technology to allow for enjoyment of simply reading a book. There has to be a balance between the two. I feel like incorporating reading paper back/hardback books with videos, blogs, smart board assignments, etc., will actually make the lesson more meaningful and enjoyable for today’s students. The most important part is that they are using the technology skills that they need to be successful in the future, as well as polishing the skills of “old school” reading and writing.
After reading the New York Times Article, I found myself, once again thinking about the seriousness of e-readers. My opinion is that I am afraid of them. I know this sounds silly, but think of how tapes took over records…and CD’s took over cassette tapes….and now MP3 Players and i-Pods are taking over CD’s…What if e-readers took over books. What if there were no more books…with pages…and slip covers. What would happen to our libraries? This is scary to me. Books have been such an important part of my life that I cannot imagine reading solely from a screen. My husband bought me a Nook Color for my birthday last year. It took me 6 months to download a book to it. Swore I would never. But I decided that I needed to be “in the know” about the latest technology being offered to my students. I still maintain my agrument that real paper books are better. I can feel myself struggling to read on the screen, whereas, a page just flows for me. Again, I think there must be a balance between the use of both types of reading materials.
I am not a Digital Reader. I much rather have a paper book that a screen with functions anyday, however, this article helped me to see all the positive things about e-readers. I do like how students can use the functions on the e-readers to change fonts, page colors, etc., to enhance their reading and help them to focus. We certainly cannot do that with a plain book. Most e-readers also have a built in dictionary and high lighting tool so students are able to define vocabulary quickly and efficiently. Another postive thing about e-readers is that most are designed to feel like a book. The size and portablility of the Kindle and Nook are definately great features to think about before purchasing an e-reader.
Just as we had to have new books for the school year, and dictionaries to help with homework, students today are being equipped with e-readers with these functions built in. The e-reader is quickly becoming a positive tool for use in school as well as in day to day life. Students can do everything from read an assigned book, read for pleasure, play games, define vocabulary, to check email and chat with friends on the e-reader. It is no wonder that the artice e-reading and e-responding refers to it as a New Tool for the Next Generation of Readers. I am sure by the time my young kids are in high school and college, this will be the tool to have.