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Does the introduction of iPads and e-books make a difference to students reading in the school library? During 2010 Westburn School librarian, Sylvia Junovich, observed a significant drop off in the amount of reading related use of the school library during break times. The library was busy, but mainly with computer activities and games. She discussed her concerns with staff and as a result, they decided to purchase two iPads for use in the library. These have been loaded with interactive picture books (see the blogpost on Q-books) and word-finds. They are being used by small groups (2-3 students) at a time and a system of change over has evolved, usually self managed by the children with only minimal intervention by the Librarian.
She is delighted to find that the enthusiasm for leisure time reading in the library is returning. Reading the e-book Hairy Maclary on the iPad has had a spin off effect of children going to the library shelves to find the hard copy of the same book. This has generated a surge of interest in Lynley Dodd’s books again.
With Westburn’s multi-cultural population, international students have enjoyed reading and hearing books in their own language. Sylvia finds this particularly exciting since print copies of these books in other languages are not easily accessible.
Having these iPads available has given her a guide for purchasing further e-books or replacing worn out hard copies of some titles in her library.A few students have asked to use the iPads for research purposes, but so far, leisure time interaction with books has been the main focus. Sylvia sees huge potential with the iPads opening up an increasing range of reading material for students. Her next move will be to get them used during class visits to the library.
She says that with these tools “transliteracy is not a problem, possibly due to the fact that many of our children are already using e-resources at home. Not keeping pace with this trend would be counterproductive to helping students to become life-long learners”.
Enthusiasm and the willingness to read are integral factors in developing reading competencies. At Westburn School the introduction of these two iPads has certainly worked in those areas.
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