Are digital books just as good as physical, turn-the-page, turn-down-the-corner, tear-the-cover-by-accident books?
Drum roll please........
The scientific answer........
Based on actual research..........
Of course, I loved this article, but it is in The Scientific American and I did not invent it for my own purposes. I promise.
The article, Reading in the Digital Age, is here:
But it is very long, so I will summarize.
These are the questions the article asks:
As digital texts and technologies become more prevalent, we gain new and more mobile ways of reading—but are we still reading as attentively and thoroughly? How do our brains respond differently to onscreen text than to words on paper? Should we be worried about dividing our attention between pixels and ink or is the validity of such concerns paper-thin?
And this is basically the answer:
Evidence indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension. Compared with paper, screens may also drain more of our mental resources while we are reading and make it a little harder to remember what we read when we are done. A parallel line of research focuses on people's attitudes toward different kinds of media. Whether they realize it or not, many people approach computers and tablets with a state of mind less conducive to learning than the one they bring to paper.
Read the whole article if you have time, it is fascinating, and it is so important to think about as more and more legislatures declare that books are now obsolete and all learning should be done digitally.
But this is really just meant to encourage you to go to the library this week and check out this week's list of picture books. Real books! With real pages you can smear with chocolate goo and feel very guilty about when you return to the library.
This is a random collection of some of our favorites:
A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson
Who's That Knocking on Christmas Eve by Jan Brett
Fannie in the Kitchen: The Whole Story from Soup to Nuts of how Fannie Farmer Invented the Recipe by Deborah Hopkinson
Thumbelina by Amy Erlich
Miss Frizzle's Adventures in Imperial China by Joanna Cole
Shrek by William Steig (the original book—before the movies and very different)
The Monkey and the Crocodile: A Jakata Tale from India by Paul Galdone
The Funny Little Woman by Arlene Mosel