Ten (or maybe twenty) years ago, when I was still teaching in the public schools there was a big push to make sure that every teacher had a computer, and then that students had computers or computer access. Time has shown that the need was real. Computers today are a necessity. Five-year-olds are now more computer literate than their grandparents. But even old dogs can learn a few tricks; and with smart phones, tablets, netbooks, and e-readers it is just about mandatory that we do learn.
I got a Kindle for Mother’s Day this year. It is a wonderful addition to our library. I download books nearly everyday. I started out with free books–the classics, the old favorites, the out of copyright but available books that looked interesting. If there is a specific book I’m looking for I am just as likely to buy and download as I am to order and wait for printed pages to be delivered. But now I also shop in the $.99 to $2.99 books and I am reading a wider range of genres than I ever picked at $14.99 or more a copy.
I have read a few real stinkers. And I have read some delightful treasures. And I’ve published my own book on Kindle–The Shaman Priest. Now that I’m more familiar with the e-reader, I think it’s time to start thinking about Kindles in the classroom. The basic Kindle is only $79.oo–and that’s without an educational or quantity discount. I know those big English anthology books must cost at least that much. But the Kindle can be customized for grade level, interest level, for an individual classroom, or for an individual student.
The Kindle can be loaded with books from Alexander Dumas to William Shakespeare FREE! There are free books available every day. There are books for kids, for middle-schoolers, for young adults, for grown-ups, for sci-fi nuts, for conspiracy theorists, for environmentalists, you name it, and for the people who just want to get lost in a good story.
Kids don’t miss turning pages. They’ve grown up reading on a screen. I think the public schools should take this under advisement. And like we did with computers, those students who keep their grades up, or their attendance, or whatever criteria the school decides to set could even get a Kindle of their own to take home so students could keep reading after school is out for the day in a medium they already use.
What a concept!