Let’s talk about e-books. Personally, I’m old-fashioned. I like to read my books on paper, I like to be able feel them, to smell them, and to be able to put them in my bookcase afterwards. These feelings are really personal, and I also know a lot of people who prefer an e-reader, because it’s lighter, the books are cheaper, and it doesn’t take up too much space. To each their own.

However, there might be a time and a place where it really might be a good thing to provide more e-books. This might be the case in schools. Last year I did an internship at a company that organises projects to promote reading in teenagers. The books were available to the students in paper and as an e-book. The goal of the project was to get students to be more interested in literature and eventually, to read more. To reach this goal, students need a positive reading attitude. A reading attitude is formed by reading experiences. So I wondered, how do e-books effect these reading experiences?

If someone is reading in a way that person is not comfortable with, for example, reading in paper if you prefer an e-book, this can be a negative reading experience, leading to a negative reading attitude. So it’s important to know who is most comfortable with which kind of book. Apparently, young people prefer an e-book, because they feel it’s easier to navigate (for more information about this, look up Anne Mangen and  Åse Kristine Tveits research ‘A Joker in the Class’). 18% of the students in this research claimed flipping a page in a paper book is “difficult, unpractical or old-fashioned.” Young people also seem to read more with an e-reader because they are interested in the technological experience. But when you ask more experienced readers which medium they prefer, they choose the paper book because they feel they lose oversight in an e-book.

This means it might be good to use e-books for literature classes in high school: students might be urged the read more in this way. Once they’re hooked, and they are becoming experienced readers, they might make the switch to paper books, depending on what they like better.

2 thoughts on “About e-books and education

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