On many levels I do get much of what she was saying. But it seemed like more a critique of parents rather than eReaders and iPads in and of themselves. She talked about how, when parents are reading with their kids with eReaders, instead of ‘talking with their children about the content of the books, parents end up spouting “do this, don’t do that” directives about how to use the devices’.
So, in essence, she’s saying that parents are getting in the way of their child learning to read because they’re focussing on the devices rather than the book and the story. But that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the device nor that we should be afraid of using them with our kids. It’s simply a case of parents needing to learn how best to utilise these new devices in such a way that will maximise their child’s ability to learn to read. Ultimately, it strikes me that it will be (as it’s always been) good parenting and teaching that will lead to a child learning to read - regardless of the medium.
Like so many things, I think its best to simply encourage common sense. Physical books or electronic books are merely mediums. How we use each medium and teach our kids to use them will determine the development of a child’s reading abilities - not what specific medium we do or don’t use.
Let’s not scaremonger people about technology that - for better or worse (I think better) - is here to stay. I know that I want my daughter Eloise to love, enjoy, and learn to read via multiple mediums. And it may well be that, for the emerging generations, reading is a more interactive thing rather than the more passive approach that most of us have grown up with. I’m ok with that. The important thing is to learn to understand and enjoy the written word and how that enables us to experience life in much richer ways.
So I say let’s encourage people to embrace every medium that brings words and stories and language in front of our kids and at the same time ensure we are helping and equipping parents and teachers to know how best to help our children learn, understand and appreciate the written word.
There’s no doubt that my daughter Eloise’s arrival into my life has brought way more positives than negatives. There has definitely been one downside though. And that is reading time.
We’re on holiday this week and, before Eloise, a holiday would always mean lots of reading time. Four days in though and I’ve read a measly two chapters of Game of Thrones (a book I’ve been reading for over two months already).
The reality is that there is absolutely no day time opportunity to read with a toddler running around non-stop, endlessly demanding attention and throwing tantrums the minute you fail to respond quickly enough. So that just leaves the evenings. But by then you’re typically exhausted and it’s so much easier to put on the TV instead.
I do miss reading as much as I used to. There’s something wonderful about getting lost in a great novel or simply immersed in a great non-fiction book. So if anyone has any tips for maximising reading opportunities during this stage of life, please send them my way!