Re-Kindling Our Teaching of Reading

Amazon’s Kindle is on the scene in its latest iteration, and I might like it.

Citizen Zac thinks he likes it.

Mr. Chase thinks he might like it too. (How Jungian, right?)

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • I want a class set to try with kids.
  • Could this be how textbooks stay valid?
  • How about a site license on these books or drastically reduced rates for bulk downloads?
  • When are we going to start changing how we teach reading – not “E-Literacies,” but actual reading – to reflect the changing shape of the book?
  • Think what this could mean for an impoverished district or school.
  • Reading lists just got more malleable.

If not the Kindle, something like it should be the future of how we play school. It might burn to read that, and believe me, it burns a bit to type it. This doesn’t change the reality of things. Over Presidents’ Day, I was discussing the teaching of handwriting with a middle school teacher who was lamenting some of her students’ ability to put their words on a line.

More later.

3 thoughts on “Re-Kindling Our Teaching of Reading

  1. Marshall McLuhan said “The medium is the message” – right? Kindle – although it is print and looks/feels(?) like printed text is not. It has a lot of functionality that a textbook in and of itself can not have without “plug ins” like highlighters, pens, etc. Teaching students to use Kindle and other text-based delivery methods (I’m thinking Diigo and such here) requires that we seriously reconsider how we teach reading.

  2. I think the idea is right on – we need to be thinking about digital delivery of curriculum resources – but that the Kindle’s the wrong device. Too locked up, not friendly to other formats, and “sharing” a text is beyond a problem – it’s just not possible.

    I think we’d be better served by looking into more open formats for information, formats that can be pushed to multiple device types – phones, computers, e-readers and other devices that haven’t yet been invented.

    Digital content, content that can be updated on the fly, makes sense. Distribution of it on a very restrictive device like the Kindle doesn’t make sense, in my humble opinion.

  3. I like the idea of an e-text, but I’m not crazy about the Kindle. Admittedly, I’ve never seen one, never held one, never been given the chance to fall in love. But looking at the other devices that have the same price point, I’m much more likely to lean toward a more general purpose device.

    Is that a netbook? Maybe a iPhone/iTouch or whatever comes next from that line? I’m not sure yet. But the Kindle seems way to locked down for this kind of thing.

    We also have to pay attention to the financial side. We can’t afford subscriptions. Even if we could get the devices for free, we’d have to pay less than 20% of the print cost to get an e-book to replace a textbook on a five-year rotation. It’s going to be hard to get the publishers down to that level.

    I think there’s more hope with open content, but there’s a lot of work to do there, too. Agreed, though, that it’s time to get started with it.

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