Can Students ‘Go Deep’ With Digital Reading?

Textbooks and other student reading material are increasingly going digital, but can students still interact with the text in ways that promote deep reading?


"While ever more schools adopt textbooks and student reading materials to digital readers like iPads and Chromebooks, some recent research suggests students may comprehend more from reading print." 

This examination of how middle school students respond to and work with digital textbooks addresses questions that are applicable to learners at all levels of instruction. Digital devices have many benefits, but they just don’t provide the same level of interaction that physical books do. The physical process of interacting with a physical book, including the ability to write in the margins, is important when it comes to getting the most out of reading. Digital books just can’t offer that, yet.

However, digital reading specialists are working on tools and strategies that will help to improve deep learning from digital materials. For example, students who are familiar with and use annotation apps within their textbooks may actually benefit from working with digital materials, since students are generally discouraged from writing in or marking up their physical textbooks.

In the meantime, there’s a place for both physical and digital books in today’s classrooms.


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