Thursday, December 29, 2011

How Technology Can Benefit Children's Books

Boy's version of lounging

Via Guardian
So should we be worried that the generation of tots growing up as digital natives, who as yet have no emotional attachment to Mog the Forgetful Cat, will never learn to love books?
Well, yes and no. Children's books are simultaneously the most resistant to digitalisation and the most ripe for its many benefits. That may sound like a contradiction, but it isn't. In the first place, the materiality of the average book is far more important to a baby or a toddler than an adult. Adults don't much mind if they get their 80,000 words of continuous prose on a screen or a printed page. But what iPad app can replicate a pop-up book, or a book with crinkly pages, or a rubbery cow's nose and the soft suede pad of a puppy's ears, or a finger-puppet going all the way through the middle? How many digital readers, as yet, have the sort of screen-space that lets text and illustration breathe together as Emily Gravett, Maurice Sendak or Judith Kerr intended? On the other hand, new tech can deliver excitements to children that paper can't: a book with moving pictures, or pictures that talk to you when you press them, or – for older children, learning to read – a book that allows you to touch a tricky word and hear it read aloud.

But words, if you let them, can and do grab children, and this generation especially so. The huge prevalence of texting, the internet, instant messaging and social networking means – however much dame-school grumps may deplore the fractured grammar and emoticons – the generation emerging is more engaged with the written word than any in living memory.

The internet is putting young readers in touch with each other, too. Some playground crazes are literary, and they can go global.The explosion of fan fiction – much of it by children and young teens – is a vitally encouraging instance of the way creative reading and creative writing can become the centre of an online community. JK Rowling's Pottermore site, which opens to the public this month, looks like is offering a model of how a children's author might engage with readers without compromising the texts

 So perhaps we should stop predicting the emergence of an illiterate, story-less generation whose only evolutionary advantage will be double-jointed Xbox thumbs. Perhaps instead we should be predicting a wonderful expansion of different ways of engaging with stories and words.
 Read the entire article here.

Image Source :  lovelihood / Kim Love

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