I continue to read and hear all of the controversy surrounding print vs. digital reading for our students. The lists of articles, reports, studies, and blogs extolling the virtue of one over the other goes on forever. My question to all of you is why do we think it has to be one or the other?
We continue to talk about student choice and voice yet forget that personal preference is essential in creating the voracious readers we so desperately want and know we need for students to be successful. The same holds true for not only how they read but what they read. Is a graphic novel in a print book better than a comic book in digital form? Can a traditional picture book capture the imagination of a preschool student any better than an OverDrive read-aloud? Can research be done more effectively by using the index of a reference book or by using the electronic search and find functionality of an informational eBook? I don't have the answers to these questions and am not even sure that an answer exists or is even necessary.
What I do know is that I love curling up on the sofa, under an afghan, with a cup of tea to read a traditional print novel on a cold winter day just as much as I love carrying my iPad on a plane so that I can catch up on my "to read" list! I also don't know how I ever traveled the amount of miles I travel for work without the capabilities of listening to my OverDrive collection of audiobooks. I presented at a state leadership conference in Lake Placid last month and I spent the three hour ride with Jewell Parker Rhodes listening to her read her mesmerizing novel Towers Falling to me.
Our reading experiences should be more about the words, the emotions, the connections, and the stimulation of ideas than about the mediums used to access the stories that we interact with and relate to through the reading process. So, don't spend time on the "which is better" debate, take a both/and approach and let the reader choose!