15 Replies Latest reply on Sep 17, 2015 2:32 AM by areamiftikhar@yahoo.com

    Digital Reading


      As a former reading and writing teacher, and an enthusiastic consumer of ebooks, I'm really interested in how these skills are changing with the digital revolution that we and our students are experiencing. I just read an interesting article on this topic--The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens.


      Some of the interesting points in this article are--

      • The physical aspect of reading a paper book seems to have something to do with how well we understand what we're reading.
      • Several research studies maintain that people understand paper text better than digital text.
      • Reading digital texts is harder on the eyes.
      • People may approach a digital text less seriously than a print text. (I think I do this!)


      I kind of like this quote from the article--"But why, one could ask, are we working so hard to make reading with new technologies like tablets and e-readers so similar to the experience of reading on the very ancient technology that is paper? Why not keep paper and evolve screen-based reading into something else entirely? " I think that may be a good point.


      So what are your experiences and the experiences of your students with reading digital texts. I'm interested to hear your thoughts. By the way, the comments in response to this article are also pretty interesting and thoughtful. I especially liked the one person who said they read the entire article online and couldn't remember any of it! LOL

        • Re: Digital Reading

          i agree with most of what you mentioned in article, i have an e-reader full of books but i still prefer reading printed materials, i like the feeling of holding the book in my hands and drinking tea while reading, i think developers tend to imitate the reality and not to change it.

          • Re: Digital Reading

            Interesting article and points.  I love my e-reader -and due to adjustable font size and lighting actually find it easier on the eyes than most printed books. 


            My daughter likes digital textbooks as it is so much lighter for her to carry and have all her books with her all the time.


            I am curious what susangauthier and smersand think about this.

              • Re: Digital Reading


                I think many things about this! Here are the two strongest things I feel:

                First - My mother has had to undergo 7 surgeries on her eyes in the last 2 years, which has left her all but blind in her left eye, and pretty close to it in her right. As an avid reader, her biggest fear (even before her vision problems) has always been losing her eyesight and being unable to read. We purchased her an iPad, and I load her Kindle App with books on a weekly basis, and she could not be happier. She is able to adjust the backlighting and font size, which allows her to read. Were it not for the advent of eReaders and tablets, she may have lost the one thing that mattered most to her, her ability to read. This makes me think of the students we have that have vision problems, and even cognitive impairments that do not allow them to joys of reading. eReaders and tablets give them the chance to explore reading through adjusting settings and even reading the words aloud. Technology has allowed these students to access things they could not have before.

                With that said, the other thing that struck me was this: "Paper books also have an immediately discernible size, shape and weight. We might refer to a hardcover edition of War and Peace as a hefty tome or a paperback Heart of Darkness as a slim volume." I can't even count the times I have heard a student reject or choose a book based on size, regardless of the contents. I think that the ability for etexts to "mask" the length of a book might encourage students to make reading choices based on topic and content, rather than size. Additionally, I think that e-readers allow students to read "what they want" without fear of judgment from their peers. They won't get labeled "nerdy" for reading War and Peace, they won't get labeled a "baby" for enjoying Diary of a Wimpy Kid in 10th grade, e-readers and tablets allow students to read what they want and nobody ever has to know what it is. I think this allows for more freedom, and the chance to encourage reading for pleasure.


                  • Re: Digital Reading

                    I also have vision problems and appreciate ebooks for that reason. I love being able to enlarge the text when I need to, especially in the evening. I do think that I may not think as deeply about ebooks as paper versions because I am a prolific commenter in books. I know that I can make comments in an ebook, but I seldom do. It just doesn't seem as useful if I can't thumb through the pages to recall what I wrote. It might be, however, that I am in a transition stage and could someday find digital commenting as easy and useful and writing in the margins of a printed book. Who knows? We're definitely in an era where things are changing as far as reading goes.

                • Re: Digital Reading


                  I thought this was a great article and conversational piece so I shared this article with one of my good friends who is a retired librarian and current Children's Literature professor at the University of Texas in Austin. I wanted to hear her views and thoughts on the subject. I'm posting our conversation with her permission.


                  From Shirley Lukenbill



                  As a former librarian and as a migrant to the digital world, I can give you my own professional opinion.  Children (our digital natives) love anything that is on a screen; however, the research is compelling (not just from this article) that we retain more about what we read by reading in a paper format.  There is a lot of research in my field showing that people as a whole, including kids in school, prefer reading in a paper format.  Time will tell as the digital formats become better on the eyes and give people better ways to keep records of the important passages in books, etc.




                  Another problem with e-books is that they are troublesome and expensive for libraries, because unlike a book in paper format, libraries have to enter into "rental agreements" with the publishers to get the numbers of books they need.  And getting a license to use a certain e-book is not for the life of the e-book, but for a certain period of time, and then they have to pay the going rate for the e-book all over again when the licenses expire.  In order for e-books to be more usable in libraries, publishers need to change that model.


                  So that's my 2 cents.  For my personal preferences, I prefer to read in a book format, but because of the extra weight to carry in a book format, I do enjoy using my Kindle app on my phone to read books when I'm at UT and also when I am traveling.




                  • Re: Digital Reading
                    Rubina Jahangir

                    The future of books and libraries is put into question by the increasing popularity of e-books and the use of computers as text platforms. In an effort to anticipate which reading platform—print, e-readers, or computers displays—will dominate in the coming years, recent research and experimental data on the suitability of each reading platform for reading comprehension will be considered, from the perspectives of optical issues, cognition, and metacognition. It will be shown that, while printed books are most conducive to learning from longer, more difficult texts, e-readers and computer displays offer convenience and some distinct advantages to readers in particular situations.

                    • Re: Digital Reading

                      I like ebooks but I also like the feel of a book in my hands.  Touching and turning the pages still interests me as much as the book I am reading keeps me interested to want to turn the page to find out more.  Reading on a device does help make things easier when traveling though.

                      • Re: Digital Reading
                        Bonnie Feather

                        I have found that whenever I am reading a printed book these days, I want to click on a word now and again to learn more about it. Sometimes it's the meaning or concept I need; other times I just want some synonyms. And I can also jump immediately to another site to look up an historical event related to the story! I read more fiction than  nonfiction these days, and I love being able to suss out events mentioned in the text.


                        I'm one of those people who could pretty happily never pick up a printed book or magazine again. However, I really do want them collected and saved in libraries and other archives.



                        • Re: Digital Reading

                          pgrant@clarity-innovations.com I find I read both print and ebooks without my glasses. My nearsightedness allows me to see things quite well. (In fact, I sometimes reduce font size to 5 or 6 point to fit more words on the screen.) I find my speed and comprehension is similar for both versions. I enjoy the speed at which I can switch between electronic books or news articles compared to putting down a book or picking up the next section of the newspaper. I also like the variety of news sources available online. My personal preference is electronic, I, however, also enjoy the print version.

                          • Re: Digital Reading

                            I use both books and the ipad to teach my 5 year old granddaughter how to read.  I allow her to take the lead with which she prefers to use.  We go to the public library to check out books twice a month.  She uses the ipad to play word games that are important in helping her to understand phonics, blends, etc.  However, when it comes to reading the book, she prefers the hard copy over the ebook.

                            • Re: Digital Reading

                              I believe that it's important for students to be comfortable with both formats. However, I firmly believe that early readers need to experience real books - to turn the pages, see the covers, browse, see color pictures and interact with a tangible item,  E-books are great for older children who may struggle with reading or second-language learners as many have interactive elements, video capabilities, and audio convenience. With e-books, teachers and students have instant access to books, which is particularly useful for areas without easy access to libraries. For college-age students, I'm sure e-book textbooks help to lighten their load and prevent future back issues! That's my two cents.

                              • Re: Digital Reading

                                I agree but i don't imagine life without books paper