I came across an article in TIME magazine regarding E-readers and how they can actually impede a child's reading skills. I was intrigued. I mean....E-readers are everywhere, and even the youngest of learners use them! I know my own children have LeapPad Tablets, and enjoy using Grandma's iPad whenever the opportunity arises. A preschool student last year said to me, "Mrs. Powell, I don't use a computer at home....we have a tablet." Well, well, well....fancy for you, little one!
On top of that, I had a parent laugh at me when I handed out cute little book marks with a quote about how children become readers on the laps on their parents. Really....outright laughed...and kind of scoffed...stating something like: "I can't believe teachers still hand out book marks with all the technology we have these days!" I was stunned. Really? And how do you suppose a child SHOULD acquire their language and literacy skills? Solely from an electronic device? I think not.
|Photo borrowed from GoodReader.com (IRONIC?!)|
In a technology driven era, one can hardly deny that iPads, Leapfrog, V-tech, and other devices are not a prevalent part of a child's daily reading---provided they DO spend time reading at home and that the parents make it a part of the child's daily reading!! (I won't even think about the children who might not be getting their daily dose of book time this summer....okay, I am thinking about it, and it breaks my heart!)
Electronic devices are a great supplement to a child's leisurely reading...but it cannot replace human interaction, communication, and questioning. In fact, researchers are finding that it impedes comprehension to a great degree. As teachers, we know that can happen...and we know how to use technology for purposeful, productive learning. However, parents may need our help and our professional recommendations. Check out this article from the NY Times.
Here are a few key points from the articles:
- Using an E-reader causes parents (or the device) to spout too many directives. "Turn the device this way, click here, don't hold it like that!"
- There are too many sounds and animations---it distracts the reader and significantly reduces comprehension.
- Parents are less likely to ask questions about the story...rather on an E-reader they will say: "show me, good job, go to the next one..."---meaningless chatter reduces comprehension
- E-reader stories/apps rarely relate to real life. They are not relevant to the child....no text to self connections!
- Choose wisely---on an E-reader, choose a book that has less bells and whistles---not too much to click on (few animations, less chatter or game like stories)
I've made a mental note to bring up this topic occasionally in my newsletters and classroom/parent blog throughout the year. I'd like to feed them tidbits of researched information and offer ideas for finding a happy balance between technology and print. It's going to be pertinent for educators to help parents understand what's important & why technology doesn't always win out---no matter how glamorous it may seem!
I LOVE technology, don't get me wrong....and I implement it even with my youngest of learners....but I also feel that it is my responsibility to figure out a happy medium---and pass along that knowledge to parents and families so that we can continue to make great strides in the success of each child! And for your non-readers, or those that do not like to read....we can't deny that flashy technology isn't a great hook! It IS! Just be careful in the extent in which you use it.
Oh...and if you are still a teacher that hands out book marks (it's not a bad thing---I'm doing it again this year!)....go grab your download HERE (scroll all the way down)! Hand them out proudly!!
Add a ribbon and cutsie them up even more! Like in this Pinterest photo!
Thoughts? Experiences? Let me know what you think....I'd love to hear from you!