Category Archives: ebooks

What types of ebooks are best for young readers?

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In my 26th April post( that I re-blogged), the writer states that for adults, reading ebooks means you can read more books.People who read ebooks, read more.

There is not the hassle or inconvenience of getting hold of the next book. You can buy and download it online at 12 pm, if that is when it suits you, not wait for the library or bookstore to open or even wait for the book to arrive in the post.

For developing readers, it seems the story may be different. This article

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asks the question…

Could e-books actually get in the way of reading?

‘That was the question explored in research presented last week by Heather Ruetschlin Schugar, an associate professor at West Chester University, and her spouse Jordan T. Schugar, an instructor at the same institution.’

A couple of ideas in the article certainly rang bells with me and my experience at school, with 4-12 year olds.

*It seems that the very “richness” of the multimedia environment that e-books provide—touted as their advantage over printed books—may actually overwhelm kids’ limited working memory, leading them to lose the thread of the narrative or to process the meaning of the story less deeply.

*They advise parents and teachers to look for e-books that enhance and extend interactions with the text, rather than those that offer only distractions; that promote interactions that are relatively brief rather than time-consuming; that provide supports for making text-based inferences or understanding difficult vocabulary; and that locate interactions on the same page as the text display, rather than on a separate screen.

*While we may assume that interactive e-books can entertain children all by themselves, it turns out that such products require more input from us than books on paper do…… (as adults need to help beginning and developing readers learn how to navigate around the book and also to not over-use the ‘read-to-me’ option)

Certainly made me think about my use of ebooks with classes, as I promote our ebook and eaudiobook collection and sometime share an ebook with the kindergarten classes.

Recommended ebooks from the author of the above article – MindShift –

For beginning readers

Blue Hat, Green Hat, by Sandra Boynton

Go Clifford, Go!, by Norman Bridwell

Meet Biscuit, by Alyssa Capucilli

Nickelby Swift, Kitten Catastrophe, by Ben Hecht

Miss Spider’s Tea Party, by David Kirk

A Fine Musician, by Lucy Thomson

For fluent readers

Slice of Bread Goes to the Beach, by Glenn Melenhorst

Who Would Win? Killer Whale vs. Great White Shark, by Jerry Pallotta

Wild About Books, by Judy Sierra

The Artifacts, by Lynley Stace and Dan Hare

 

I can recommend Miss Spiders Tea party. I have showed it to my classes of pre-preps last year and they loved it! It is also very well done.

 

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Could ebooks actually get in the way of reading?

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Part of this article, reporting on the research by 2 professors into middle school students and what they get from reading traditional texts vs ebooks, rang a bell with me.

‘While young readers find these digital products very appealing, their multitude of features may diffuse children’s attention, interfering with their comprehension of the text, Smith and the Schugars found. It seems that the very “richness” of the multimedia environment that e-books provide—touted as their advantage over printed books—may actually overwhelm kids’ limited working memory, leading them to lose the thread of the narrative or to process the meaning of the story less deeply.’

I have recently bought a Mac, as our school is very much becoming a Mac school and I wanted to be able to play around  with the technology at home, and try out programs like IBook Author. Plus I have made ebooks on Creative Book Builder with my library classes and also used ebook apps with my kinder library classes. And I spruik our school library’s ebook collection on Borrowbox!! So I have a fair bit to do with encouraging my students to have a go at ebooks in their different forms.

So the comment above has made me stop and think…certainly, I feel, as a teacher, that to be doing a good job, I need to keep up with the latest and greatest technology, to engage children, to enter into their world. And ebooks are part of that world.

Maybe they should not be seen as the future of books and I should continue to be circumspect in my showcasing of them – having lots of bells and whistles is not always a good thing, particularly for younger, developing readers.

Thanks, Heather and Jordan and Smith and for the thought.