A) “Future of E-Books”
My opinions regarding this notion differ depending on which perspective I look at it from. When reading for leisure, while I would prefer to have a tangible book in my hand while reading, I would argue that its content is far more significant than the medium used to present it, thus I would agree with the notion that books are loved for their content and not for their format. As Stephen Roxburgh expresses in his article tiled “The e-Future”, “ The format or platform doesn’t matter. If it’s done well, the reader or viewer will quickly lose any awareness of the medium as they immerse themselves in the content” (Roxburgh, 2012). Thus, the format used to present the book does not change the quality of its content. If a book is good, it is going to be good regardless of the format in which it is presented. Certainly, having a tangible book, in my opinion, makes the experience more enjoyable, still it does not change the way I interpret the information in the book. As a student though, I find e-books to be more convenient. As Steven Roxburgh so well states in his article, “Because of digital technology, books are available to virtually anyone, anywhere, at any time” (Roxburgh, 2012). Besides having access to books at any time so long as I have access to the internet, ebooks usually weigh less than the average textbook, and typically cost less, which anyone can appreciate. As a teacher, however, I would disagree with the statement, because when it comes to younger children and the picture books they read or that are read to them, I believe that format is just as significant as its content. When it comes to picture books, children should have access to printed versions of these books, as they allow students to better examine their illustrations. It is important that students consider the elements of art found in these illustrations. With printed versions of picture books, students are able to better appreciate the art used to produce the illustrations. According to Roxburgh, “Recent projections suggest that the number of smartphones and tablet computers will reach two billion in the next few years” (Roxburgh, 2012)). With the use of technology on the rise, the use of ebooks in the classroom is inevitable, thus even younger students will access books via technology, still it is critical that teachers provide these students with printed versions of pictures books, as their illustrations serve an important part of the reading and learning experience.
In opposition of Alexis’s argument that, “…the whole point of a book is the format”, I would argue that the significance of a books lies in the material that is being presented in the book, not the format in which it is being presented (with the exception of picture books). A book’s medium does not make the book good or bad. A good story is not going to become a bad story because it is accessed via technology, if that makes sense? Certainly, a book’s format may contribute to a person’s reading experience making it a good or bad one, but it definitely is not the whole point of a book.
B) “Why Gossip Girl Matters”
YA problem novels, slim books about sports figures and celebrities, graphic novels, gruesome biographies of serial killers, series fiction, comic strips, and how-to books are often rejected by many teachers, librarians, and children’s literature experts, who claim that they are not advanced enough, thus lack the ability to develop students’ reading skills. What these critics fail to consider is these books’ ability to entice students who demonstrate a dislike for reading. Of these students Philip Charles Crawford expressed the following in his article titled, “Why Gossip Girl Matters”, “These kids aren’t just struggling, or reluctant, readers; they actively resist reading” (Crawford). Negative experiences have turned many children off to reading. As a result, these children have developed a strong dislike for books. While such books may be regarded as too basic, they still can serve as great motivation tools to get children to read. Teachers and librarians can use these books to attract students attention thus motivating them to read. As Crawford states, “…these books have the power to engage and excite teens who would otherwise read nothing” (Crawford). They are also a great place to start for children who do not enjoy reading. According to Crawford, “ I have seen countless girls try highly accessible books like Simpsons comics or A Child Called “It” and go on to read all of the sequels. Some continue reading only in the same vein while others graduate to more sophisticated series like Louise Rennison’s books about Georgia Nicolson” (Crawford). Of boys, he states, “Many boys begin with simple, action-oriented graphic novels and photo-filled sports biographies before delving into more com- plex works like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman books and Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira” (Crawford). Thus, it is critical that educators refrain from denouncing the material in books, as instead consider their potential. That said, it is critical that educators provide their students with an array of literature that meets the interest of all students.
Picture Books App Response
A There are countless benefits to using digital picture books. Among the ones that I consider most significant are listed below:
- promote traditional literacy skills.
- supports vocabulary development
- advances children’s technological proficiencies
- addresses phonemic awareness and phonics, concepts about print fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
- fosters reading motivation
- allows for a personalized reading experience in which individual readers select the desired amount of support.
- assists in the development of decoding and comprehension for struggling students.
- attracts students’ attention allowing them to stay focused for long periods.
B. A way in which I would use a picture book app with its print counterpart in the classroom would be to have students compare and contrast the illustrations in both books. I would design a venn diagram on the board and have students share aloud similarities and differences they found between both versions of the book. Once we have discussed illustrations, I would draw two pros and cons charts on the board and ask students to share what their experiences were reading both versions of the book-what they considered pros and what they considered cons.
C. According to Katie Bircher’s article titled “What Makes a Good Picture Book App?” on hbook.com, “A successful picture book app is interactive but not too interactive, creates meaningful counterpoint between all parts of the app, makes use of the “drama of the turning of the page” — even without physical pages, puts users in charge, is easy to navigate, provides a surprising and joyful experience, withstands repeated use, above all, adds to or extends the original book” (2012). Maria Cahill and Anne McGill state the following in their article titled, “Selecting “App”ealing and “App”ropriate Book Apps For Beginning Readers” Anderson- Inman and Horney (1997) set four minimum criteria for classifying an e-book: text presented visually on a screen, book-like configuration (table of contents, pages, etc.), an organizing subject matter or topic, and multimedia enhancements” (2013). Since the “Monster at the End of This Book” book app meets this criteria, it would be considered a good picture book app. With this picture book, students can interact with Grover, and are able to take charge as they control the events as they occur in the story. The app is extremely easy to navigate with easy to find tabs to help guide the viewer through the experience. Joyful audio is used to tell a surprising story full of inviting, cheerful illustrations, making for a great reading and learning experience. Grover’s consistent urge to keep the reader from turning the page, adds to the anticipation as the reader increasingly becomes more and more thrilled to turn to the next page. Extending a book, I learned from reading this one, if done correctly via a picture book app, can be extremely effective in not only attracting students’ attention, especially those who may not particularly love reading, but can help develop a child’s reading skills in an exciting way.