Ebooks and Apps As Tools For Teaching Reading

OK, folks.  This is serious!

I know I said I was going to finish the week with Challenge #3, but I have changed my mind for two reasons: one, no one’s doing the challenge, (so I don’t expect any heartbreak over a temporary delay – we’ll pick it up next week), and two, I have to give a talk Monday to actual professional grown-ups and I’m feeling just a mite panicky (understatement of the year.)

I’m hoping you all will be able to help me out.

I’m wondering what people think about ebooks and book apps for kids.  What are the pros and cons of these types of new media as they relate to teaching kids to read?  Do they have a place in teaching reading?  Do they surpass traditional books in this area?  Do they merely distract from the actual process of reading with too many bells and whistles?  Do they make lazy readers who rely on the voice that will read to them?  Or, as some have said, do they open new doors, particularly for autistic and dyslexic students?  In what ways?

If any of you have experience with this, especially specific apps you’ve used or seen, I would really love to hear about it.  Parents, teachers, anyone!  Opinions are also welcome!

Please share your thoughts.  I am liable to dissolve into a panic-stricken puddle without a little moral support 🙂

On another note, for anyone who is interested, I will be at the Empire State Book Festival in Albany tomorrow, on a panel about picture books, and the New York State Readers Association Conference (NYSRA) in Saratoga Springs on Monday, where I will be giving the talk which relates partially to this topic.  Also, April Fool, Phyllis! is being featured on The Children’s Literature Network‘s new Book of The Day Fanfare segment today 🙂  And Phyllis wants everyone to know that her prediction of snow on April Fools Day was correct!

Prime Time

I’m practically a caveman.

Well, a cavewoman, I guess, if you want to get technical.

Why, you may ask?

Because I don’t have cable or satellite.

Sheesh!  I heard that gasp of horror all the way up here on Blueberry Hill!  Calm down before you start hyperventilating.  It’s not that bad.  Think of all the commercials I don’t have to watch!

And remember – I do have internet which, in addition to allowing me to chat with y’all and waste time playing Sporcle,  lets me indulge in my secret addiction to Grey’s Anatomy the day after it airs 🙂

That is not the point, though, and I do have a point, somewhere.

Oh, yes.  My point was that a lot of television is a wasteland and we should all spend more time reading. And especially we should encourage our children to read so they don’t grow into a generation of people who don’t know what a book is 🙂

Lane Smith’s book is both funny and a little alarming because, with the advent of Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone aps, etc. it’s beginning to seem very possible that a time could come when books as we know them might not exist.

I have no problem with ebooks up to a point.  I actually have a few.  In terms of environmental friendliness and the fact that I won’t have to build a new wing on the house to store them, they have some positive sides.  But I’d hate to see books go out of style altogether.  No matter how high-tech an ebook might be, how engaging on a certain level, in that format it’s not the same thing.  I hope we will never lose the ability to sit with out children or grandchildren in our laps and hold a book in our hands, feel the paper, smell the ink, turn the pages, and allow words and art to fire our imaginations.  To me, that is prime time.

What do you think?  Are ebooks good?  Do you like the experience of reading them or do you prefer traditional books?  Do you find them easier or harder on the eyes?  Do you think sharing an ebook with a child is as good, better or worse than sharing a traditional book?  Please share your thoughts!  And while you’re at it, share the title of a book you’ve read recently that you really liked.  I’ll start in the comments 🙂