Digitally interactive books versus a child’s imagination.

July 8, 2011

My thoughts on digital books continue to evolve with new information and data on their effects on the way children read. If I was ‘Tsarina’ today…. I would like to keep children reading books they hold in their hands. A child’s brain develops most dramatically during the first five years and shapes how their brain matures. I am concerned that reading digitally adversely affects how children read and comprehend. I watch children reading digitally and I see how multi-tasking and distraction are part of that experience.

Offering children digitally interactive book brings up other issues as well. I recently looked at the popular Alice and Wonderland digital book app and I found it difficult to get to the story— which took a back seat to the inter active nature of the app. Do I need the White Rabbit’s old-fashioned pocket watch or a jar of marmalade to move when I tilt the iPad or touch an object?  The question is what are children losing and what are they gaining when they digitally read versus reading a book they hold in their hands. My worry is that children reading on digital devices are losing some of the essential qualities of reading—the ability to concentrate deeply, reflect and peruse meaning.

Book apps mix text with video, sound and game-like interactivity. Authors and publishers are recasting themselves as app makers and I can’t quite decide if a book app is a book, a movie, or a game. I don’t think we need all the bells and whistles to make a great story great.  It’s A Book, by Lane Smith seems to be making the point that the very qualities that we love about books do not need those features. Give children a great story they can get lost in –and let them use their own imagination to conjure up the sounds, sights and smells the story evokes.

Celebrate July 4th with a book that makes the holiday come to life.

June 30, 2011

The, 4th of July celebrates the United States adopting the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776. What do Richard Henry Lee, George Clymer, John Witherspoon, Caesar Rodney and 52 other men have to do with the 4th of July? They were 4 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. These people put their […]


Books to entertain— not to teach anything.

June 25, 2011

Looking for a summer home-run read?  Look to the books of Beverly Cleary —95 years old— and the author of over 42 books, many of which turn(ed) countless kids into the readers they are today. I can’t imagine somebody not finding a book by Beverly Cleary they don’t fall in love with. And we know, that […]


Get off the literary stair master and stop counting the number of books you or your children are reading.

June 17, 2011

Upon returning from a fact finding trip to the US which included a visit to a NYC charter school, the UK Education Secretary announced that every student from upper-elementary through the high school grades should read fifty books a year. Read 50 books a year and become a reader —really? Here is one more episode […]


Terrific resource for summertime reading

June 7, 2011

Websites offering summertime book recommendations can be overwhelming. One of my favorite online resource for book recommendations is http://www.neh.gov/projects/summertime-kto3.html Their recommendations are refreshingly on target for age appropriate titles. In choosing books children will enjoy, parents should pay attention not just to the reading level but also to the emotional readiness a child brings to […]


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