Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Millions of Cats… and thoughts on e-books

I've been neglecting this blog for years now, but I'm trying out a new idea.  Since my grandchildren don't live close enough for me to read to them - in person - regularly, I'm recording books for them, and this is the first one:  Wanda Gag's classic picture book, Millions of Cats.
  I really would prefer to post it as an audio file, but apparently the expectation is that everyone does video - I don't find an option for plain audio.

This year is also the 30th anniversary of a favorite book of mine - The Hero and the Crown - winning the Newbery Medal - may Robin Mckinley live forever and continue to publish more books!

I've (fairly recently) acquired a Kindle and begun reading more with it than with "regular" books.  In part, this is because my bookshelves have been full for years, and I have no more space for adding shelves… I also like the idea of conserving paper, and the slightly lower price of electronic books, and the ability to increase the print size as my eyes age.  There has been recent research on how reading on electronic screens affects our learning, and it has come down on the side of traditional books being more effective for learning.  No one is quite sure why yet - possibly something about turning the physical page activates another part of our brain (though that doesn't make a lot of sense to me since Kindle has made "turning the page" feel a lot like the act with a regular book).

One thing I do notice when reading on Kindle or iPad is that I don't have a sense of where I am in the story.  In a regular book, the thickness of the pages I've already read, vs. the ones still to come, remind me constantly of how close I am to the end of the story.  Yes, I can look at the percentage on the bottom of my screen, but that isn't the automatic feedback I get from holding the physical pages.

I do still firmly prefer picture books in the traditional form, not shrunk down on a screen, and the open book is better for sharing with a child sitting beside me.  I gave my grandsons a physical copy of Millions of Cats to look at while they listen to me reading the story.

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