eReader Convert

Screen shot of books I'm currently reading using the
Kindle app on my iPad.
Reading books on my iPad has changed me as a reader. I have always been a big nonfiction reader, mostly professional books and procedural texts. But since getting the Kindle app, I've read more fiction  in the last two months than I have in years. I can finally see the text big and crisp and back lit. I don't have to turn my head from side to side to find the sweet spot in my bifocals. I can feel my eyes relax and I know I'm reading faster. Maybe I just think I am reading faster. Funny, even as an adult the idea of reading faster makes me feel more proficient.

As a kid, I struggled with reading, at least that is what my one of my teachers thought. I didn't like reading because I wasn't good at it. I remember my second grade teacher would let out this audible impatient sigh every time I couldn't remember the difference between "there" and "where" and "were." I hated the Sally, Dick, and Jane books. Those books weren't anything like the books at home. I much preferred Madeline and Curious George but I couldn't read those either. I loved books but I hated reading. From this former struggling readers point of view, reading is more appealing with my iPad.

In my mind's eye, I see eReaders the same way I see classroom amplification systems. Classroom amplification systems increase student attention and the redundancy of the auditory signal. This means that it is easier for students to pick up on sounds and words and the subtleties of oral communication that carry so much meaning. For example, I love reading aloud using a REDCAT because I can change the intensity and cadence of my voice in ways that hold the attention of a large group of children. And classroom amplification systems are especially effective for children who have had multiple ear infections or attention and learning difficulties. A device such as the REDCAT amplifies the teachers voice so that background noise is less distracting. For me, the iPad works in a similar way. It enhances the visual signal and helps me focus on the print. Reading feels easier. I'm not overwhelmed by the amount of text on the page and I feel like I'm reading faster even though I'm probably not. I am also less fatigued when I read.

I would love to get more eReaders or iPads into the hands of kids, especially struggling or disengaged readers. I would be fascinated to hear what children have to say about their own reading experiences when using an eReader. Hopefully, major studies will quickly appear to show what impact these devices are having on young readers. I wonder if reading using an eReader changes reading process. I created the Lino It canvas below to save links to articles I have been collecting on the this topic. Select the the icon of the canvas below for a larger view.

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