Kimmel, S. C. (2012). DEEP READING: USING TECHNOLOGY TO ENGAGE, CONNECT, AND SHARE. Library Media Connection, 30(5), 10-12.
Sue Kimmel’s article is connecting books, periodicals, and newspapers we had in the past to technology, as we know it now. She takes a deeper look at how the digital world can enhance our reading experiences and that is just isn’t as bad as people make it out to be.
Technology and reading have always been intertwined. From the beginning we used light sources and highlighters while reading our books, but now all of the e-readers provide those elements plus much more. Yes, you are relying on a source of electricity, but the e-readers are built with batteries that last longer than the average cell phone. Most kids have their own cell phones, so this makes getting books into their hands even easier. Many phones already have book apps and classics come loaded for free. Using an e-reader opens doors that might not have been open before. Many books come with suggested reads easily downloaded after you finished one book. With the click of a button, you are on to the next book. Audio books give emerging readings a way to read along whenever they want rather than waiting for an adult. E-books can create an interactive experience like Pop-out Peter Rabbit. Adding hyperlinks, maps, and images that can be easily accessed as an entirely new element to reading.
Technology allows us to socialize over books at a grander scale. We can now recommend books on sites and see which line was highlighted the most in a book. We can look for meaning in books the same way we always have, but now we can share that meaning and read others opinions. Writers can now interact with their readers and readers can connect with other readers. Kimmel ends by saying “we can look at new technologies as competition for the time and attention of young people or we can look for ways to harness these technologies to put more “books” of the hands of more readers.” Technology is here whether we want it to be or not, and we must learn to make the best of it. When used correctly, technology has the power to take our deeper understanding of books to another level.
I feel that Sue Kimmel really “hit the nail on the head.” I find myself feeling conflicted when I hear people say, “children don’t appreciate a good book physically in their hands, it’s all about the screen.” I do believe that we shouldn’t have our children watching screens all day when they are playing games and watching videos, but I truly feel that if we can get a student engaged on an e-reader, we should celebrate. I have seen students read through e-books at a much higher rate than they have with physical books, mostly due to accessibility. How nice it is to finish a book and at the click of a button the next one is there waiting for you!
To fight technology is a loosing battle. Our kids will be completely surrounded by technology their entire lives and there is nothing, short of a worldwide blackout, that is going to change that. We need to focus on showing our students how we can use technology and reading in a positive way rather than making them feel like it is not worthy. As librarians, it is our responsibility to encourage, demonstrate, and be positive about these changes in the world of reading.