What makes a good, workable, instructive, enjoyable ebook for young children? Certainly the established criteria of quality children’s literature apply to ebook texts. Strong features of good storybooks over the ages are similarly the features of enduring ebooks into the future: age-appropriate material that interests children, strong plots, and rich characterizations of the human condition are most likely the types of features we’d hope to find in a high-quality ebook. In this way, ebooks are very much like traditional books, and their literary or informational content can be judged by the same general criteria.
However, the addition of electronics impacts reading in new ways. An ebook, for example, can have background music whereas a traditional book cannot. Ebooks can provide mini-tutorials in hotspots, hyperlinks and virtual assistants who instruct and explain on-the-spot, in essence, ‘teaching’ children early literacy skills, such as phonological awareness and vocabulary. Read the rest of this entry…
As part of the Akron Ready Steps program, I am currently engaged in a study of an e-book instructional model that integrates the e-book into the preschool classroom. This is a four phase study that will last the entire school year. We recently wrapped up Phase 1 of the study and debriefed our teachers on a number of aspects of the instructional model. After an initial read through, I am particularly intrigued by their comments on what they liked about the eBook shared reading experience. A short excerpt:
I like the computer. The monitor is large and I like the touch screen. The children like the e-book experience and it is a chance to share a book with a small group of children. I think it is good for the children to hear different voices read the books. I sometimes am able to get a hard copy of an e-book. The children really like looking at the e-book and then the hard copy or vice versa.
The children love hearing the books read. The readers’ voices really make the book. The children like being at the computer and turning the pages. The children also like the animation in some of the books.
I like working with the small groups in the e-book experience. I like being able to choose between automatic and manual. I liked many of the narrators and realized that the quality of the narration and graphics is what keeps the children’s attention. I like being able to push the pause button on the book so that I can talk with the children before moving on. The pacing of most of the books keep even the three year olds engaged. Some of the graphics are really colorful. I like the words highlighted as they are being read. It helps keep the children’s attention on the words.
I like the interaction of the children with the book and with me. I like doing the e-book with a small group of children and being able to stop the book and review vocabulary words or talk about a subject. I like the animated voices. It keeps the children interested. I am trying to work on being more animated when I am reading a book to children. The children like the animated voices. I like that the children can push the page turner button when it is flashing. I like the highlighting of words during the reading.
For the past year, Dr. Kathleen Roskos from John Carroll University, Dr. Karen Burstein, Director of the Southwest Institute for Families and Children and I have been researching use of eBooks with early literacy learners. Most recently, our team has started a study that will look at instructional interactions with eBooks that promote early literacy development and vocabulary. After viewing the David Merrill TED video and blogging about it in this post, I began to consider how our research team might incorporate these devices as part of our work. I was so excited about this possibility that I decided to email the Sifteo team to see if they might be open to collaborating with us on research in the future.
Read the rest of this entry…
On Wednesday, June 10, 2009 I’ll be presenting at the Lorain City School’s Center for Early Literacy Excellence Summer Institute. The Summer Institute is a part of Lorain’s Early Reading First program.
Early Reading First, part of the President’s “Good Start, Grow Smart” initiative, is designed to transform existing early education programs into centers of excellence that provide high-quality, early education to young children, especially those from low-income families. The overall purpose of the Early Reading First Program is to prepare young children to enter kindergarten with the necessary language, cognitive, and early reading skills to prevent reading difficulties and ensure school success.
My session is entitled “The Social Web for Early Elementary: Shifting Literacy from Individual Expression to Community Involvement.”
The wiki I’ve created to to serve as a presentation resource can be found at http://brueckei.pbworks.com/
. Use the Lorain Early RF
link in the SideBar
to access the wiki page for this session. This is a partial list of some of the websites I’ll be sharing with the early elementary educators during my session.