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How Technology Can Benefit Children’s Books

  • December 29, 2011
  • Maya
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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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