Could technology solve the ‘reading for pleasure’ crisis?
There is an underlying concern a lot of teachers face: that children simply do not want to read, says Letitia Powell, Deputy Head of Junior School at Long Close School in the UK. Could combining literature and technology be the answer?
There seems to be a lack of motivation and enjoyment surrounding the word “read”. Children often associate it with a chore or homework, ultimately shutting down before even getting to the stage of opening a book. Where has the passion gone?
I have found over the years that actually finding time to sit down and relax to read a book is hard to come by and so I see this as a luxury when I do. So why is this not distilled in our children? Well, we live in a technology-centric world where nearly everything we come into contact with seems to be on some sort of screen. So, can we really blame the children?
Of course, we are aware of the advantages of reading: babies and toddlers who are read to have greater success in life than those who are not read to. Children who read are exposed to a wider range of vocabulary. They can see first-hand how sentences and paragraphs are structured, how punctuation is used. Children who read are exposed to different cultures. They learn how to empathise. And something that seems to have been forgotten: books are a form of entertainment. When hearing all of the benefits of reading, it is upsetting to think books are ‘going out of fashion’ and that the love for reading is dying.
So, my school decided to try to tackle this. We have combined 21st century technology with the ‘traditional’ book. This has changed our school’s approach to reading and children are beginning to read for pleasure. MyBookBlog has allowed this to happen: it involves children reading a physical book then responding to it online, through different modes (blogging, quizzes and polls).
Parents have become even more involved in their children’s reading, too: they send in photos, they take time out and sit down with their children, read with them and use the technology themselves to track progress.
So, let’s engage our children and create a love of reading again. Let’s embrace modern day technology and use it to our advantage: to engage our children in reading. Let’s make this leap from an ‘old fashioned’ book and bring it into the modern day because reading is fundamental to learning and growth. Let’s show children what reading is truly about: enjoyment.