The impact of technology on reading | Mentoring in the Middle

The impact of technology on reading

Ever since reading Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer, I have challenged my students each year to read at least 25 books.  We practice building reading stamina, we talk about how busy life can get, and how hard it is some days, to find half an hour to read.  We explore places where books can be read and students come up with ideas like these: at a sibling's practice, in the car, waiting for everyone to get ready to go somewhere, or at a relative's house where there are no kids.  And every year, I'm always a bit surprised when the average number of books is over 25.  It's typically in the low 30's.

Until this year.

I had a feeling around Christmas that we weren't going to be close.  It wasn't just that some of my stronger students still said they didn't like to read.  Although they did like being read to!

There just wasn't an enthusiasm for books like I'd seen in previous classes.  I think that there's no such thing as an unenthusiastic reader, there's only a kid who hasn't found the right book yet.  But here it was, months into the school year, and there were more students than usual who were still feeling pretty ambivalent.  "Curl Up With a Book and Read" days helped, but stamina still wasn't where it could have been.

I had a hunch.  We went 1:1 with iPads this year.  I didn't want to believe it.  But students told me, when we talked about it.  Their iPads held much more draw than any book did.  They had no interest in reading on their iPads.  Reading took a back seat almost EVERY SINGLE TIME to pretty much anything-but-reading.

ğŸ˜“ğŸ˜ž  Now that the school year is over, I'm wondering.  I'm still feeling a bit defeated.  Matching kids up with books and getting them excited about reading was a big part of my reputation!  

Here's the thing:  I love iPads!  I love what they can provide for students, and we use them daily in my room.  But at the expense of reading?

Have you noticed a change?  What do you do to keep kids reading?

1 comment

  1. So sorry to hear that, Darla! 1:1 conferences are so key to keeping students reading! They build a stronger relationship with you and really look forward to that time. Is there any way To continue to meet with them, but in small groups?