By now, most of us are aware that animations and sound effects can distract students from reading material. This thorough article not only explains common problems and pitfalls of interactive e-books, but also gives suggestions for how to provide better literacy support for students who are reading these books. "Six Exemplary Interactive E-books" are dissected to help teachers understand the difference between e-books that encourage comprehension and those that simply offer too much distraction.
I like this article because it clearly explains the difference between "nonlinear reading" and "deep reading." Apparently, they aren't the same thing at all, and I think most of us already knew this instinctively. There is a huge difference between reading by clicking around on a web page and reading a book. In school and in life, our students must read deeply, closely, and absorb the information in a very focused way.
Reading teacher and researcher Nancy Boyles explains ”close reading” by first explaining other recent approaches to the teaching of reading, including the over-reliance (in her opinion) on "personal connections" to the text. She argues that close reading should be about teaching students to ask the questions about the text themselves, focusing not only on the content but also on the writer’s craft and technique.
In this video, a high school language arts teacher demonstrates exactly how she uses two different apps, Good Notes and Air Sketch, to help her students read deeply, closely, and attentively on the iPad.
Five apps for aiding students in close reading are recommended and reviewed on this Ed Tech blog. The list is from 2015, so these apps are probably still available. However, since technology changes so quickly, there might be better options in the next couple of years. If you allow your students to use an app like Glow Note, be sure to teach them that “less is more.” In other words, one or two emojis on a page is plenty. They don’t need ten.
A recent article in Journal of the American Association of School Librarians recommends a few tools/apps to help our students read digital books closely, rather than becoming distracted with all the visual and audio distractions.
Shocking, isn't it? If I'm honest, though, I think my overall reading experience is better in a print book then in an e-book. Apparently, millennials feel the same way. College students report less distraction when reading print books, and claim that they remember the material much better. One problem is that colleges and faculty are moving more and more to digital books, in order to save students money.
This Scientific American article discusses several research studies that suggest certain elements of reading comprehension seem to decrease when people are reading digital media, rather than print. A thread that runs through all of these studies is "the text as physical landscape." In other words, being able to hold a book in one's hand and see where certain information is located somehow helps our memory of the content.