Have you tried reading a book on a Kindle or an iPad or other tablet? I have now read several books on my iPad and I have mixed feelings about the experience. My favorite aspect is how easy it is to get books to read for my book group. No trips to the bookstore, waiting for an order to come in the mail, or trying to find it at my local library. I can have a book in about three minutes and can start reading it immediately. I also like that I can read in bed without a light – and therefore not disturb my sleeping husband. I found I don’t even mind how the experience feels – I seem to quickly forget I’m not even holding a book. The only thing I really dislike is that I never know how far along I am in the book. Am I halfway? Am I only a quarter of the way? And what if I want to look back at something? At one point a character popped up in a story and I was confused. I wanted to see if it was the same character that had been briefly mentioned earlier in the book. But it was really not so easy to quickly thumb back.
So what is it like for a child to read a book on a tablet? Pioneer Valley Books has a new ‘app’ called Who Can Read . They have about forty books available and are adding at least one new book each month. I have used the app to have Collin read a couple books on the iPad. I have found it easy to use with him. The app has a function that reads the story to the child, but Collin and I have only used the ‘read it to myself’ function. Collin has the choice to turn the pages by running his finger across the page or using an arrow at the bottom. (You can see the two page-turning options in this video.)
I am a bit disappointed that Collin seems to prefer the arrow. I like how running your finger across the page makes it seem more like a “real book”. Here is a video of Collin reading a Tiny Treasure book, The Lost Ball, Level 5/D. Notice how independently he is reading this book for the first time. He is self-monitoring and correcting any errors very nicely. I also think he is sounding more phrased and fluent, using the punctuation to change his voice. Notice how he reads can you see it and then corrects it to can you see the ball without any prompting from me! See what you think of Collin’s progress as a reader.
Michele Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.
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