"Old-Fashioned" Reading Still Important Despite Technology

Amy Adamle
Updated: September 13, 2018 11:08 AM

Despite the technology that is constantly at our fingertips, but according to an assistant professor at the College of St. Scholastica, "old-fashioned" reading is just as important as ever.


Doreene Etongue-Mayer, an Assistant Professor of Education and Chair of Education Undergraduate Programs at the College of Saint Scholastica,

Reading in print and reading on a digital platform are two very different experiences, according to Etongue-Mayer.  She said it's important to know that the research that compares those is still developing.

"We want to really continue engaging children reading in print because we know what the strategies are and there is grounded support in what those strategies are, based on research," Etongue-Mayer said. 

She said there are different strategies parents can use to engage their children including modeling.

"I encourage parents to read and when you go to the library, pick up a book, read a book while your children are also reading a book," Etongue-Mayer said.  "That's a good message that you're sending to them that reading is important and that they need to keep working at it because you are doing so."

Parents can also build on some things that teachers are doing at schools, according to Etongue-Mayer.  One of those examples is shared or partner reading. 

"What that looks like is, you have a book, you take turns reading from one page to another," Etongue-Mayer said.  "Depending on the reading level or the ability of the child, pick books that allow them to feel confident and that is books within their reading levels."

She said teachers and librarians are good resources to help with that.

It's important that parents continue to make sure their children read even when they get older. 

"I think older kids still need that experience, it just needs to be different," Etongue-Mayer said.  "Some of the things parents could be doing with their older children is read the same type of books they are reading and use that to engage in conversation with them." 

Etongue-Mayer is an advocate for what she calls, "reading for meaning." She said research is consistent that good and authentic readers read with a purpose and engage with the text.

"It means they talk about what they're reading and they connect what they're reading with real-world experiences.  They connect what they're reading to their imaginations," Etongue-Mayer said.  "That's really what we could do to support children and to continue to support what is happening."

Having books everywhere in the house can help create an environment that is good according to Etongue-Mayer.  

"You know your children's interests, find the books that are of interest to them, provide a little structure, 15-20 minutes read schedule would not hurt the family but would help to build family time," Etongue-Mayer said. 

Going to the library and making it part of the family conversation can help show them how important it is. 


Amy Adamle

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