To be honest, I never stopped reading. However, as some people know, for quite awhile I’ve been talking about how my reading habits have changed. I spend my days reading quite a bit – blogs, web sites, web-based newspaper articles, Twitter and Facebook messages, email, text messages, and so on. But, for the most part, for several years, I’ve had little or no interest in reading physical books. As a matter of fact, whenever I started reading a physical book I found that it took me forever to finish it. (Even if I was really interested in it.) Obviously my reading habits and interests changed. And, I had no problem with that. I liked the reading I was doing. I was keeping up and learning more than ever.
But, then, a few weeks ago, things changed again. What happened? The Kindle application for the iPhone was released. I downloaded it and thought, well maybe now I’ll read more books – not the physical object but the electronic version. But, I had no idea. In the past few weeks I have read all the way through several fiction and non-fiction titles on my iPhone. I find myself looking forward to getting back to the book that I’ve been reading. It’s quite a change.
What’s my point? Having this recent experience I have been reminded once again how important it is to be open to the different ways that people (especially teens) read and enjoy reading. This means being careful not to judge other people’s reading preferences – physical object or electronic or audio version – and we need to make a commitment to helping teens access reading materials in a variety of formats. (While we may be doing this pretty well with audiobooks and web-based non-fiction/reference, it’s important to ask ourselves – are we implementing ways to give teens options for reading text, fiction and non-fiction, on devices that they want to and do use?)
It’s actually pretty interesting to think about the different ways we can all read the same thing. I can read the latest hot teen novel on my iPhone, you might read it on a Kindle, a teen might read the audiobook, and a teacher might read it in the physical book form. All of us are reading the same thing. All of us are enjoying (or not enjoying the content) But, all of us are reading in the way that best resonates with our own style.
What a great opportunity this is for teens, librarians, parents, teachers, and everyone. No longer is reading only accomplished via a very specific type of physical object.
Of course I never stopped reading, but I’m glad that now I have one more way to read what I feel like reading, when I feel like reading, and how I feel like reading.