How technology has changed reading in the 21st century

Alice in WonderlandWhat would you do if your favorite little child begged you to write down the story you had told him or her orally? Would you go to the computer and start typing? Would you print it out on paper? Turn it into a slide presentation with engaging visuals? Put it onto an iPad to share together as you sit on the sofa?

C.M. Rubin ponders this question in her fascinating article “How Will We Read? – The Book Given”. She writes:

“On November 26, 1864, Lewis Carroll gave my relative, Alice Pleasance Liddell, a book he had written for her… If the book given to Alice in 1864 was given today, just imagine the variety of different ways a creative chap like Lewis Carroll might have presented it to his Alice.  Quantum leaps in technology have completely changed the way we write, illustrate, publish, market, promote and consume books.” Read the full article.

There is no question that the act of reading is changing. Just over a year ago, I blogged about an article from the Smithsonian about how digital technologies physically change the act of reading.

While bibliophiles like me may love to hold a paper book in their hand, the children of the twenty first century will also need to know how to understand and work with written text presented in a digital format. If you’re a language or literacy teacher, or even a parent who snuggles up with your little one to read a bedtime story, are you incorporating digital technologies to help the children you care about learn how to read with technology?

Related post: Teaching reading the 21st century way


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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