Summer Reading & Technology

Connecticut Reads 2010: The Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge journal accompanies the summer reading list that students have brought home. As educators, we hold literacy in the greatest regard, encouraging everyone to find joy in reading. Kindles and other eBook Readers (some reviewed on TopTenReviews) are now used in some schools and homes. How will this impact student reading? Listening through an audiobook requires some different skills than reading the text, but are there times when this might be worthwhile? Similarly, reading the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and viewing the movie (from Discovery Education) are both engaging to children and will provide a rich environment for exploring the alphabet.

Many teachers are also determining their reading lists. As well as books related to technology in education, I also like to find books that have been recommended just for pleasure. Our state government provides funds to support iConn: Connecticut’s Digital Library that not only provides a rich database of magazines, journals and more, but allows me to check local libraries to see if the books I want are currently available. I find the Useful Links section is especially interesting. For younger children, KidsInfoBits has audio accompanying the article text.

I also love the Project Gutenberg — it’s an old favorite established in 1992 before there were Internet browsers. I used the site recently to find a passage from Shakespeare’s Tempest. The passage I was looking for, Tricullo’s first speech, does not have the typically poem form and difficult to determine how to perform the piece. AudioBooks are also available here and I downloaded one with the cast lead by Sir Ian McKellen. I continued my Shakespeare search on Discovery Education where I found some wonderful resources for teaching Shakespeare at the high school level from Standard Deviants, an award-winning educational video producer.

Will eBooks replace the children’s picture book? Would I want to read Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar or Demi’s A Grain of Rice? If you compare the aesthetic quality of Jan Brett’s The Mitten in its board book form and picture book form, the picture book has finer lines and a greater color palette. Purpose will determine whether to use books, audio, video, or emerging and future technologies.

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