I’m Reading Again

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.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.
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3 Comments

  1. I’m reading again too–and I did actually stop reading (for pleasure, anyway) for a while. I barely had any independent reading while I was in college (and resented much of the reading I was doing For college), and even after I graduated it just wasn’t on my radar.

    Now, though, my reading across formats has exploded–I read more blogs than ever, I read more news (all online) than ever, and I always have a physical book (if not several) running at any given time. And I find that the more I read, the more I want to read–I’m always adding books based on This American Life segments (which I listen to online), blog posts, titles mentioned in Other books I’m reading… Basically, my reading has gone viral.

    Here at work, students in one of our schools have Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) time–and online reading doesn’t work, because the kids are in classrooms without computers. We at least check out our “non-circulating” magazines during DEAR time, but I really wonder how different things would be if we had the means to let students do online (or mobile) reading if they chose.

  2. I think the format really influences the reading experience. It’s important to remember that the same person might respond differently to different formats of the same text, so students should shop around with genres and mediums. For me, Kite Runner was an excellent audiobook because it was so engaging to hear the author’s accent on words in his own language. Twilight was a terrible audiobook because the narrator seems to whine at the listener; the book is so much more personal when you read the words yourself and hear your own voice. So, sure, encourage students to read in a format that works for them, but they shouldn’t stop there. They should sample a variety of formats to find what works best with new texts.

  3. You are so right. There are many different forms of reading. Thank you for the revelation. You’ve encouraged me to take my latest book to a new level. Godspeed.

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