The Library Special Interest Group meeting is a mix of literature and technology with free books available for all attendees. The presenter is Dr. Teri Lesesne, speaking on how literature and technology can get along in the library. We need to redefine, reimagine and perhaps repurpose reading for the 21st century.
What is reading? Not simply sounding out and decoding words!
Literature reminds us that we are all connected. Literature encourages us to think about the “what ifs” in our lives. Literature shows us all of the many ways that we can use words. Literature offers windows and mirrors for us of other people and places.
We need to include the reading of non-fiction in our definition of reading. Reading non-print materials and reading with your ears are also reading. Reading now includes tweets and status updates. Kids aren’t reading less – they are reading things that aren’t valued by researchers who report these things.
Reading doesn’t matter unless we redefine what we mean by literacy. We have to help kids develop strong reading muscles by giving kids great and varied things to read.
Kids today are different and think differently. Kids who will go to college in 2010 have always had GPS systems. They have never used a typewriter. Caller ID has always been available. They have always had the Goosebumps series. Older definitions of literacy don’t apply.
Graphic novels are meaningful for these kids.
Audiobooks and playaways are important too. Most downloaded audiobooks in 2009 were the Twilight series. Most downloaded non-fiction book was Night by Elie Wiesel. (Booklist Online has a great blog about audiobooks).
Kids want to have time to read without “doing something” afterwards. Adults read often without building a diorama after reading. Kids should be able to discuss and share about what they are reading, but not necessarily be tested.
AASL says reading is a window to the world. A foundational skill that allows students to develop new understandings.
One issue is equitable access to books, reading, information. Technology helps us break down some of these inequities.
Kids want to learn in a social context – face to face and with technology.
Better than Life by Daniel Pennac has a Reader’s Bill of Rights. Some of these rights are:
You have the right to read young adult lit no matter how old you are.
The right to read extensively and not always intensively.
The right to demand changes to the literary canon for the 21st century. Read and study something contemporary!
The right to see the movie or the play instead of reading the book.
The right to read books that disturb the reader.
The right to have access to books at school and at home.
The right to read a book with lots of pictures.
The right to refuse to read a prescribed book.
The right to demand a redefinition of what it means to read.
We need to offer kids a new definition of what it means to read if we want to remain relevant in the world of the 21st century student!