While there still seem to be some mixed opinions out there, I've left this week's readings feeling a lot more positive towards digital reading. I have always favored print reading over digital texts, which initially made me side with more traditional standpoints, like Baron's findings that "students surveyed felt that when they read in print, they read more carefully and remembered more; they were better able to annotate; and they multitasked less" (Larkin, Flash 2017). I had to remind myself though, as I have many times already in this course, that my preconceived definitions of digitally-based literacy are often much more limited than I realized. Therefore, this week I centered my reading around the question,"How do you stay true to your beliefs about literacy learning as you incorporate digital tools into your reading workshop?" (Heverin 2015).
Peter and Patty's Digital Literacy Experiences By following two students through their unique multimodal reading experiences, Burke and Roswell opened my eyes to direct connections between these students' digital pastimes and skills that we spend all year teaching in the classroom. Peter, for example, is an incredibly bright student who, despite his "ability to have complex discussions about characters, levels of play, and chakra within the genre of anime," does not flourish in a typical school setting (Burke, Roswell, 2009, p. 113). I think of one of my own students, who also immerses himself in fictional worlds in his free time. Each day after class, this student will come to my desk and tell me about God of War, MoonKnight, and various Greek and Norse mythology, all of which tie back in with our Odyssey unit. While his slow typing and difficulty with typing documents indicates a lack of up-to-date technology at home, I feel like he shares Peter's "ability to align and capture the nuances," which "has prepared him well for the sort of digital reading which is more representative of contemporary literacies" (p. 116).
I was equally fascinated by Patty, who, along with practicing reading on a website that relies on text for navigating its world, can "cross the boundaries of childhood to spaces simulating the lives of pet-owning adults, through virtual responsibilities imitating the freedom of choice representative of adult worlds" (p. 116). It is incredible to me that these digital spaces can simultaneously help students practice "visual, gestural, spatial, aural, and linguistic modes" and get a glimpse into aspects of adulthood that we would never think to talk about in a literature class (p. 116).
Responsibility with teaching digital texts "In response to the varying quality of e-books, teachers can either mitigate and limit students’ exposure to digital texts or capitalize on their own knowledge of texts to select those that they deem appropriate for individual students in their classroom" (Kucirkova, 2020, p. 828).
As teachers, we have a lot responsibility that comes with pushing for more digital texts, such as 1) Differentiating between the good and the bad and 2) Collaborating with publishers whenever we have the opportunity. I often feel too small and insignificant to have such a big a say when it comes to speaking with book publishers, but Kucirkova's words were very empowering and reminded me that we are professionals.
Power of Picturebooks "Reading and responding to literature can be emotional, empowering, and transformative. When children experience trauma or anxiety, picturebooks can be a powerful way to foster conversations about their experiences and beliefs" (Wiseman, 2020).
Multimodal texts have the power to tell stories in ways that traditional print could never do. We must realize not only the novelty of this, but the necessity of it. Graphic novels like Nimona and The Prince and the Dressmaker have already moved my students, and I'm so excited to see how pictures and text continue to evolve together in the digital format.