Reading in the Digital Age

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Reading in the Digital Age

Perhaps sensationalist, but Craig Mod, captures the sentiment of many writers on the topic when he poetically states;

Print is dying.

Digital is surging.

Everyone is confused.

The advent of e-readers and digital reading is certainly causing waves amongst publishers, creators, readers, and educators. E book sales are now regularly outstripping paper sales on new publications. I am a teacher librarian; I spend my days surrounded by shelves and shelves of traditional print books, and I love and adore them…but I also love my Kindle. Alongside the shelves of paper books, libraries are now adding shelves of Kindles, banks of iPads, shelves of DS books and shelves of CDs and DVDs…not to mention the digital texts, audio files and downloads that do not even need shelves.

For the young, traditional print children’s books will form part of personal and institutional libraries for the foreseeable future, or so most of the current research tells us. Young children need the tactile experience of a book, the weight, the understanding of how to turn pages, and how to turn a book the right way up. Young children need to go back and forth, up and down and pour over a print book…without the distraction of flashing images and beeping sounds. Illustrations are still most beautiful in paper book form…yes, yes an iPad is close to reproducing the artwork…but there is something truly glorious about a double page spread in a children’s book by an award winning artist.

However, with ever increasing new technologies available to today’s readers and learners it is time for parents and educators to expand the literary and literacy experiences of their children and students beyond traditional print texts. Embrace reading in all its forms…digital and paper. Surround your children with all the ways of reading that are now available to them.

For learners of today, familiar as they are with digital media, the addition of the e-book to the range of technologies they currently use is somewhat of a non-event – think how easily a one year old works an iPhone, AND a board book. Most families are going to sit their Kindles and iPads alongside their print books…and this is how it should be.

Rather than grasp ever tighter our paper books to our hearts, parents, teachers and  teacher librarians need to consider embracing the challenges and wonders of reading in a digital age, and add e books to their collections, both at home and in the workplace.

No one has a crystal ball to see into the future.  What fate may become of paper books in the near or far future is still a contested domain.  But one thing is clear, digital reading is not a force that can be easily dismissed nor ignored.

Today’s readers are living in a digital age…time to embrace this.

The titles of each book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.

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