Interview with a Student on eReading

DISCLAIMER: This is definitely not an ad for the Kobo. In no way is that product affiliated with me or this blogpost.

A few days ago, I was intrigued when I came across one of my student’s blogposts:

Ever since I was young, I did not really enjoy reading. Until I got my Kobo that is. A Kobo is a type of eReader. An eReader is an electronic way of reading many different books. Now that I’ve got it, I really enjoy reading. I do not know what it is, it is just that I prefer reading electronically. To me, it’s just more fun. If you have trouble reading maybe you could try using an eReader of some sort. It really helped me!

As someone who has taken a little while to understand the value of eReaders myself, I was so curious that one of my own student’s saw it as a literacy lifeline of sorts. I had to interview her.

Kim (not her real name) is a 12-year-old grade 7 student at my school. She comes from a suburban, middle-class family.

So Kim, when did you get your first eReader?

I just got it a couple of months ago.

Is it true that, before getting your Kobo, you didn’t consider yourself a reader?

Ya, that’s right.

Can you explain what you mean?

I didn’t enjoy reading. I would do it for school or if someone made me do it, but I would never choose to read just for myself.

So what’s changed?

I just like the fact that it’s digital. It’s more fun for me.

How much, and what, have you been reading since getting it?

I read a lot now. I have tonnes of books on it already. I’ve just finished a few series like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

Do you think you would have read them before getting your eReader?

Probably not. It takes me a long time to read, so I don’t think I would have stuck it out with a book.

Really?!? That’s fascinating. So are you reading faster than before?

No not really. I just find I worry about it less. Before, I used to think that I was a bad reader because I read slower than everyone else.

Is there something about not turning real pages that makes you worry about that less?

Ya totally. But I don’t know why [laughs].

Do you like the fact that you can put a bunch of books on your one device?

Ya, I love that. I used to have so much trouble carrying books around. And, besides, I just prefer things to be digital and electronic.

You also own an iPod Touch, right?

Ya.

Why didn’t you just use the Kobo app on that? Why is it better on the device?

Well, it’s just not the same on the iPod. My eyes hurt when I read it on there. I squint more. It’s also hard to read outside. Plus, I get really distracted with my other apps on it.

What are some things you can do on your device that you use?

If you don’t know a word or something, you can search what it means while reading it. It helps me understand the book better. I also really like the way it tells me the percentage of how much I’ve read, and time it’s taking me to read, and my behaviour and stuff. I like being able to write notes too. It helps me go back and stay on track with my understanding.

So you’re reading more, understanding more, and enjoying the experience more?

Exactly.

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2 thoughts on “Interview with a Student on eReading

  1. HI Royan,
    thanks for posting the interview here. While I am still quite confused about ‘why’ she prefers eReader over an actual book, Kim nonetheless represent a strong voice from our student population: how digital text speaks to this generation more ‘effectively’ (?) than conventional printed media.

    To me, the argument here isn’t whether there’s value to eReaders (Kobo, Kindle, iPad, etc.); they are awesome, and they will continue to allow users to do ‘more’ with improving features and the increasing processing and connection power poured into these devices. I personally have more problem with the idea of ‘Scanned’ text replacing printed ones. To me, none of these so-called eBooks really offer much more than their printer counterparts. Granted, eTexts are ‘searchable’ and ‘reproducible’, providing the devices allow such functions. But it’s simply a replica of the printed text; not to mention it lacks the fantastic scent of ink!!! =D

    eTexts need to do more before I am a believer. I think that Push Pop Press (http://pushpoppress.com/) has it right: these eBooks need to offer more than just page scans for them to distinguish themselves from conventional books. Audio/Video inserts, sound tracks, possibly integrated Social functions (Tweet while you read!), etc. are some of the ‘must’ in my opinion for eBooks to be truly eWorthy.

    I guess that I’ll be one of those people holding on to my paperbacks until there is a real transformation in ePublishing before I line up for a Kindle, i mean, Kobo, I mean, um..I am trying not to promote any particular brand here..=)

    My opinion aside, I am glad that one little device can empower a kid like Kim to consider herself a reader; money well-spent by the parents. Let’s hope that this is a real change but not just a phase.

    Cheers!

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