The joy of reading with technology

It was half way through the week that I thought I would write this waffle but I have been trying to decided whether or not I am enough of an expert to actually waffle about the topic. Initially it was going to be about the joy of reading and or books, but I thought, after reading an online article, I would also put some technology in there as well. So if you are sitting comfortably and with a humble apology to all you literacy experts out there, I shall begin.


Imagination emanating from books (Original Image from pixabay.com)

Imagination emanating from books
(Original Image from pixabay.com)

This week there was a really interesting UKEdchat on the “How to get children to read for pleasure.“. While participating I started to consider whether the question was about the joy or reading or the joy of books and whether there was a difference. Yesterday I read an article about “15 great audiobooks for helping kids read” and I started to consider the way which technology could impact on the whole enjoyment of reading and/or books. So, in no particular order – here are my thoughts.

  • Virtual Books – One of the joys I think of reading is sharing. I must admit that I rarely read a fiction book nowadays – for me the world of audiobooks has allowed me to listen to books while multitasking. Although I am not actually reading, I am enjoying the book and ability to share my thoughts and enjoyment about the books I read is made easy by the virtual world. This might be from comments in the audiobook online library or by creating reviews or book blogs to discuss the book further. Often, just starting a blog post on the school’s VLE with an image of the front cover of the book can allow learners to post what they think as replies. Often this is more effective as they are not actually required to write reviews or answer specific questions which might put some learners off the task. There is also the possibility that the comments start to come from further afield and might even include the author themselves! The use of twitter can be helpful here.

  • Reading aloud – While I was teaching in primary school, one of my favourite activities happened at the end of the day when I sat down with the children and read to them the next chapter of the class novel. I had a few books which I would read to the children and knowing the storyline allowed me to time my reading so that the cliff hangers occurred just as it was time to go home – to the children’s cries of “Mr Wilson!!!!!” Reading aloud is an activity which I consider we should all participate in. Not because I think it increases our confidence but more that there is something very nice about hearing someone read to you. Technology can of course play a really important part in this. Although there will be copyright issues surrounding the recording of published material, this does not apply to your own writing. Encouraging children to read and record their own writing will allow them add the appropriate tone and expression to their writing as well as allowing other learners to enjoy their work. I often think that the reason I enjoy podcasts so much is the fact that it is like being read aloud to :).

  • Contributions to UKedchat about the joys of reading/books

    Contributions to UKedchat about the joys of reading/books

  • Promoting Interaction – When I was younger (yes we did have books in those days) I used to love reading fantasy or science fiction books. One thing that I was often disappointed in was the inability to actually interact or change the course of the book. I would often think to myself how I would act at certain points within the book and whether this would ultimately change the storyline. When enjoying stories together with the children there is the possibility of actually engaging with alternative endings and altering dialogue and descriptions. Using these important turning points within the book as starting points allows the children themselves to decide what they would do and how they would react and then predict how the story would end. Within every book there is always a motivating or inspiring piece of dialogue which the children can initially practice and record for themselves before altering it or creating something similar. I often used to use the teacher’s coach stop speech from Robert Swindell’s ‘Room 13’ for this. Extending this to include drama is also another possibility and then using videoing capturing software to record and subsequently share the outcomes. Mind mapping software such as Popplet is a good way to record the changes of storyline in a visual way so rather than writing a complete alternate ending every time.

  • Although I am not an expert in the teaching literacy, stories and books have always been something which I have wanted to interact with and promote in my teaching. Indeed, if you are a regular reader of my blogs, you will be aware that it was a book which actually was responsible for my slight detour in my profession. For me, the joy of stories is the key aspect of books. Within stories there exists worlds of imagination that we involve ourselves in on many different levels. For me, we need to open these imaginary worlds up for children and bring them on the journeys that many of us go on while reading and/or listening, ably assisted in some ways by technology.

    I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, please add them in the comments below or send them to me via Twitter(@iwilsonysj), Facebook, Google+ or email.

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