Thursday, August 27, 2009
My Reflections of my Kindle Reading
I received a KINDLE as a gift several months ago. Over the summer, I have done more reading on my Kindle and less with "real" books. I have been thinking a lot about it--lots of people have been asking me which I prefer, etc. So, I thought I'd share my reflections.
There are times I LOVE my Kindle. I started out reading only nonfiction, starting with THE ELEMENT by Ken Robinson. I thought it would be hard to get into a novel. But then I read THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO and loved it. Once you get started, falling into a book is the same whether you are reading a "real" book or a book on the Kindle.
Some great features:
I think the highlighting and note taking features are the best thing. I am not sure what the possibilities are with these tools but these are actually the tools that sold me on the KINDLE. When I am reading a book, I can underline and take notes (right on the spot where the notes belong!) Then when I go to my clipping area, all of my notes for each book are compiled. I think the implications for book talks and book study are huge with this. For me, this feature made the KINDLE a different kind of reading for me. Knowing I could highlight and take notes and have those all in one spot, rather than flipping through the book and finding them all, is huge. I think this could really impact student and adult book talks--really allowing us to create new thinking off of a book and sharing it in ways that we really couldn't before.
I can read a sample of almost any Kindle book available for Free. Whenever I hear of a good title, I often order the free sample and read it--often about a first chapter. They send you a lot of text to preview. And then if you like it, you can order the book.
It is sooo easy to carry. That is obvious. But the fact that I can go somewhere and THEN decide if I want to read a novel, something professional, etc. is great. I have all of my reading with me. And if I don't, I can get it pretty quickly.
I can order a book and have it in 30 seconds. I didn't think I would care, but I recently read a sample chapter of THE SLIPPERY YEAR (a great read for anyone in their 40s:-) and loved the sample. I was laying in bed reading one night and decided I wanted to read that book. Even though it was midnight, I could order the book and have it in about 15 seconds. I didn't have to find time to get to the store, etc.
I can email myself PDF files and read those on my Kindle. I wasn't sure I would use this feature, but it has been great. First of all, I don't need printouts of Ali of the things I often print to read. By sending it to my Kindle, it doesn't become part of some huge pile. Instead it just becomes an option for my reading and it is much easier to read than reading it off of the computer.
The books are cheaper.
Some things I am not quite used to and not sure if I ever will be:
I can't loan my books out. When I decided to read THREE LITTLE WORDS, I knew I might want to pass it along. So, I purchased a real copy. It is a little frustrating to tell someone about a great book but not be able to share it with them. And I sometimes, when I find a book I love, I have the urge to carry it around and tell anyone about it who will listen. A Kindle makes this a bit difficult.
It takes a bit of time to get used to the idea of no page numbers. Instead of page numbers the Kindle tells gives you numbers and percentages to let you know how far along you are. For me, I need to know how long a book is and how many "pages" I read each sitting. To combat this, I often look up the page count, then figure out what 10% is, and go from there.
There are not "real" covers on the Kindle. It is a bit odd to walk into a bookstore and see a book you just read but not recognize it. To pick a book up to read every day and not see a cover. For me, covers and previewing are important. Covers tell something big, give us a clue into the theme. I miss that. I also haven't noticed many of the things I often find on the back cover. I miss that.
I LOVE bookstores. Love to shop, carry books, buy books. I have even been known to buy books that I already have because I love them so much. I am worried about bookstores with the increased popularity of the Kindle and other readers. I am having trouble not shopping for books, real books,in real bookstores, with real people. I am not sure anything can replace that experience.
I have a shelf of books that I have read but can't part with. Books that I LOVE. Books that I hope someone sees on the shelf and wants to read. Books I hope my daughters read when they are older. Books that have changed me. I can't really have that physical shelf on a Kindle.
Overall, I LOVE the Kindle. The more time I spend reading Kindle books, the less I find myself needing paper books. I remember a similar experience when I gave up the yellow legal pads for writing and moved to the computer. I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to give up the "real" paper. Now, that seems long ago and amusing. Composing on paper almost never happens for me.
And as a teacher, I think it has huge implications for our classrooms. When I think of the amazing book talks my 4th and 5th graders have had--studying a title, sharing notes, etc. I can see this as a way to add even more depth. The notes feature alone can be pretty interesting. There is also a great SEARCH feature. I remember one group that studied the way that the word "soof" was used in SO BE IT. A Kindle would allow them to search all of the places in the book that the author used that word. Can you imagine the conversations? Being able to search a word in fiction in order to think about theme, find evidence for thinking and working through clues can really add to deeper reading. I can only imagine what is possible.
I am pretty sure that soon, the Kindle will be my entire reading life. It will be good because I will have SOOO much extra room in my house. I can see myself falling more and more in love with it and relying on it more and more.
Posted by Franki at 5:16 AM