And I think my new best friend is going to change the way we look at text in many ways.
I’ve debated an e-reader for awhile. Was set on the Kindle until the iPad came out and then thought about how much more resourceful an iPad might be for me and what I need. However, I didn’t get one, still, for a very long time until this past Thanksgiving when I opened up my new best friend, an iPad, as a birthday/Christmas gift from my family. [note: best give ever! thank you all! :-)]
The iPad has a plethora of applications and uses that I still have yet to uncover. At times I still feel overwhelmed by all of the things I can do with it. I feel that I see a new tip every day. However, I’ve enjoyed figuring out the ins and outs of its many uses, both personally and within the classroom…
…which brings up the point of this post: reading. I love to read. Always have. Always will. If I’m into a book, I can literally sit and read for hours (and I more than likely can finish in one setting). Yet, I have found that I REALLY love to read on the iPad which is surprising in some aspects because I love to sit and physically hold a book. Dog ear the pages. Underline. You get the idea.
The one thing I found so promising about my growing experience reading on the iPad is the ability to more actively read. I think it makes me more engaged with the text in a way. Yes, I can still highlight and do those things I do with a hardcopy book. However, the biggest difference for me, though it may seem stupid to some, was the ability to consistently look up words! No longer was I scrambling for a dictionary, searching for historical facts online, or using my context clues to help me get a better grasp of the text. It was all right there…at the tip of my finger.
I think what I found so compelling about reading in this manner is thinking about kids today. For many of them, reading isn’t a favorite activity, bottom line. We’ve all had, at one time or another, come across a struggling or reluctant reader. And I have found that at times, many of these readers simply find a text too “hard” to even try to give it a try or try to relate to. Yet, what if an ereader was placed in those hands? Suddenly access to those hard to understand passages that push those struggling or reluctant readers are right there, in front of them…they don’t have to use another separate text to access information. Everything is solidified into one place.
I’m not saying this is the end all to our struggles with reading. I just think it’s a really neat, innovative way to help more people with reading. I also think that accessibility is key. Not everyone may have an iPad, Kindle, or computer at home. Yet, as we all know, cell phones (rather smartphones) are on the rise all around us which also offer access to these reading apps.
I don’t know what the direction of reading will take as we head into the future, and I don’t think anyone truly knows. However, I do think it’s an exciting, very bright future. One that allows reading texts to be best situated to the reader…as an individual.
[p.s. be on the look out for my next Book Talk on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!]
[p.p.s. the only downside of ebooks is the ability/inability to SHARE which I’ve thought about before here.]