Ebooks: yes, BUT…

Ebooks: Yes! BUT…

In my previous post Ebooks: yes or no?, I concluded “yes to ebooks”. This view was confirmed by those posted by classmates Horsley (2018) and Ali (2018) in the discussion forum, when they both argue that it is the role of TLs to make a range of literature formats available to our students and (Horsley continues) to educate our communities by developing an understanding of the value of multi-platform experiences and their contribution to 21st century literacy.

A number of readings from ETL402 Module 4 informed my understanding of ebooks and digital literature formats further:

image by Nadine Doerle, downloaded from pixabayHashim and Vongkulluksn (2018) identify “engaged reading” as a critical component driving student learning and long-term academic success (p. 359). They argue that the motivational and cognitive aspects of engaged reading reinforce each other and that engaged readers read and interpret content because they are motivated to do so. Engaged readers further learn to self-regulate their reading and apply learned strategies to real-life and out-of-school reading experiences. (How does this relate to ebooks? Keep reading…)

Cullen (2015) reasons that interactive media captivates children’s attention and allows them to engage with learning in a way that is intrinsically bound to their familiarity with technology. (Keep reading…) Utilizing the affordances of connected and digital ICT (e.g. accessibility, diversity, communication and collaboration, multi-model and non-linear, interaction, dialogue, creativity, organization, inquiry (Canole (2012, p. 84)) allow for the development of innovative forms of literature (or ebooks if you want) that engage multiple senses and encourage active learning through engagement and experimentation. Cullen sees this as an opportunity for active learners to build knowledge, allow for individual differences and provide achievement, success and progression.

In Lamb and Johnson’s (2010) exploration of the connection between literature and multi-media formats, they showed that students are extending their reading experiences, and exploring opportunities and options to include a wide range of technology tools as they explore cross-genre, multi-platform transmedia connections. In practical terms: they may read a book and then use different mobile devices and platforms to explore the topic online and discuss their thoughts on a social network.

The affordances of ICT can then be used to enhance reading in more than one way: through the connected options and opportunities explained above and through the actual features of an ebook.

image by chau_cn, downloaded from pixabayZipke’s (2013) evaluation of ebooks led her to describe the minimal ebook as including illustrations and animation, oral reading of the text, text-highlighting, built in dictionaries and foreign language translations, as well as the ability for the reader to interact with characters and objects (p. 375). Many newer ebooks make use of more advanced affordances, such as voice recognition, touch screens and manipulating (tilting and shaking) of the device (p. 375). The affordances should make reading deeper and richer and not be a distraction, in other words make good use of the medium, while still encouraging independent reading and good literacy practices:

  • the read-aloud enhances comprehension
  • text is displayed prominently, with some form of tracking option
  • word pronunciation and dictionary tools assist with decoding and vocabulary development
  • narration, animation and interactive media support emerging literacy skills (p. 377).

This is the reason I say “Ebooks: yes, BUT…”

Ebooks have the potential to motivate and engage, BUT it must be in conjunction with:

  • strong writing
  • interesting language
  • engaging subject matter
  • developmentally appropriate themes (p. 377)

Sekeres and Watson (2011) points out that the multimediacy (p. 264) of the multimedia literature formats encourages engaged reading and active audiences (p. 261). They argue that these formats of literature – ebooks and their connected environments – allow readers to develop the skills and strategies needed for the “new literacies” needed in the 21 century (p. 260).


Ali, S. (2018, December 30). Re: Task 1: Ebooks & reading [Online forum post]. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_35350_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_61731_1&forum_id=_143048_1&message_id=_2029004_1

Conole, G. (2013). Designing for learning in an open world. New York, NY: Springer.

Cullen, M. (2015, December 21). How is interactive media changing the way children learn? Retrieved December 29, 2018, from Education Technology website: https://educationtechnologysolutions.com.au/2015/12/how-is-interactive-media-changing-the-way-children-learn/

Hashim, A. K., & Vongkulluksn, V. W. (2018). E-Reader apps and reading engagement: A descriptive case study. Computers & Education, 215, 358-375. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.06.021

Horsley, D. (2018, December 27). Re: Task 1: Ebooks & reading [Online forum post]. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_35350_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_61731_1&forum_id=_143048_1&message_id=_2029004_1

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2010). Divergent convergence part : cross-genre, multi-platform, transmedia experiences in school libraries. Teacher Librarian, 37(5), 76-8.

Sekeres, D. C., & Watson, C. (2011). New literacies and multimediacy: The immersive universe of The 39 Clues. Children’s Literature in Education, 42(3), 256-273. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-011-9133-4

Zipke, M. (2013). Building an e‐Book library: Resources for finding the best apps. The Reading Teacher, 67(5), 375-383. https://doi.org/10.1002/trtr.1221





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