kid using iPad

Mark Pennington’s students often read on their laptops. Pennington, who’s a reading specialist in Elk Grove near Sacramento, Calif., sees a need to teach kids how to read digitally and stay engaged, and thinks that digital reading will eventually catch up to what kids can do reading print. When asked if his seventh-graders are more engaged when reading from digital readers or in print, he said it depends — motivation and environment play a big role.

“Most of the digital reading that students ‘practice’ is at home on Instagram, chat lines, Facebook and texting,” he said. “Since students are choosing to read and respond in these mediums, and since students have considerable prior knowledge and expertise in the subject matter, their engagement/comprehension is high.”

The trick to being a good reader, no matter the medium, is being an engaged reader, a fact that Pennington notes is well-supported by research. “It’s pretty clear that good readers are active readers engaged with the text,” he said.

One of the best ways for readers to show engagement with the text, he said, is through marginal annotations.

“There are real advantages to print,” he said. “You can write on the text right there,” noting that if students aren’t allowed to write in textbooks, they can use small sticky notes that come off easily. “You can also flip back and forth very easily, and spatially, there are advantages to print media.”

Making those annotations in digital readers, like iPads and Chromebooks, can be more challenging than grabbing a pencil and sticky note.

When Pennington’s seventh graders took the Smarter Balanced Assessment in English Language Arts on new Chromebooks last April, Pennington didn’t teach them how to use the test’s annotation feature. Students would have been able to highlight reading passages and take notes on the text to help them answer test questions. He thought it was too complicated for them to learn how to use well in time for the test.

“It was so cumbersome,” he said. Students had to turn on the annotation feature, move back and forth between screens, remember the location of the notes, and then return to the questions they were trying to answer. He said for most of his students, it would have been tricky to “walk and chew gum at the same time,” so he shelved it.


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. Middle school students who read from both print and e-books showed they understood more of what they read from the ink-and-paper books, according to one preliminary study presented by Heather Ruetschlin Schugar and Jordan T. Schugar of West Chester University.

Although tablets and touch devices allow readers to interact in innovative ways, the researchers wrote, “Reading comprehension research with multi-touch devices is still in its infancy and students will need to adapt new reading strategies in order to maximize their learning in this environment.”

The Schugars have conducted two additional studies in which grade school students better understood material when not distracted by the bells and whistles of an interactive digital book. Annie Murphy Paul, in writing about the Schugars’ work for the New York Times, wrote, “It seems that the very ‘richness’ of the multimedia environment that e-books provide — heralded as their advantage over printed books — may overwhelm children’s limited working memory, leading them to lose the thread of the narrative or to process the meaning of the story less deeply.”

For older students, the ability to take notes easily appears to be a big reason for choosing print textbooks over digital. In a Hewlett Packard online survey of 527 college students at San Jose State University, 57 percent of students who responded said they preferred print materials to e-books when studying. When citing reasons for their preference, 35 percent of print users cited “note-taking ability” as a reason for preferring print vs. six percent of those who favored e-books.

Yet those who study reading seem to understand that comprehending in the new medium may require some new training and practice to receive the full benefits. In a recent New Yorker article, Being a Better Online Reader, Maryanne Wolf, author of a history of reading called Proust and the Squid, said she’s developing digital apps to help train students to deep read digitally. She cites a new study that showed fifth-graders became better digital readers after learning how to use the digital annotation feature.

“The same plasticity that allows us to form a reading circuit to begin with, and short-circuit the development of deep reading if we allow it, allows us to learn how to duplicate deep reading in a new environment,” Wolf said in the article.


Maybe new note-taking skills require nothing more than a shift in perspective. In a recent MindShift article about a one-to-one iPad program, Hillview Middle Principal Erik Burmeister, said that annotating digital books gives his students a sense of freedom – a place to “dirty up” their materials with thoughts and ideas.

“In a traditional school environment, you’re given a textbook and told not to write in it at all. And this is really counter-intuitive to what we want kids to be able to do in the real world,” he said. “We want them to write all over the things that they’re reading.” Since allowing every kid to write on paper books would mean throwing away those books at the end of every year, the devices give kids the chance to annotate inside the document.

“It”s being able to engaged with the material in a really kinesthetic way,” Burmeister said. “The material is so sacred that it’s not sacred, you can really dirty it up.”

So if engaged readers annotate, and students may or may not prefer taking notes in print books, what’s next for the e-book? Where does it fit into school? What’s the best use of an e-book for learning? More research will need to be done, especially on how students use the annotation features of e-books, to get a clearer picture of how well students can take notes and be able to find them on digital readers. Perhaps technology will improve, and annotation features will become more intuitive in the next generation of devices. And maybe parents and teachers will need to distinguish reading for fun on tablets, with the distracting bells and whistles, from reading for school, where material is less interactive but more straightforward for better absorption.

Mark Pennington believes that there will always be room for both print and digital reading in school. In the mean time, he will continue teaching kids how to annotate, because giving students the “ability to talk to the text, to create an internal dialogue with the text,” is the best way to help students understand what they’re reading. Whether that ends up being most effective tapped on a tablet or scribbled in the margins remains to be seen.


Can Students ‘Go Deep’ With Digital Reading? 9 September,2014Holly Korbey

  • The “ability to talk to the text, to create an internal dialogue with the text,” is nothing new and certainly does not need technology. (In fact Bakhtin gave perhaps the most elegant account of this 70 years ago.)

    Also, if the justification for the millions spent on technology is simply that kids can digitally annotate texts they would otherwise not be able to with printed texts, then the cost far outweigh the benefits.

  • I have to ask whether the writer of this article article has actually done any real reading with an iPad? If so then you are surprisingly oblivious of some of the major affordances of using an e-reader over a paper book. I use the GoodReader App mainly although iBooks is good too, I find it much easier to record highlights and annotations in those than I do with a paper book, I can rarely fit all of my comments into the margins of a paper book but I have no problem with the flexibility to expand my comments as far as I need to on a screen. But that is not a major advantage, the major advantage of annotating on-screen is that when I have finished the book/article with a click I can see a summary of all of my highlights and notes all summarised in a couple of pages, try and do that with a paper book! Not to mention the ease with which I can share those notes with colleagues and friends, we can create our own quite effective “Cliff’s notes” network with nothing more than a couple of clicks. It always amazes me that tree huggers never seem to mention the incredible amount of paper that is wasted with the printing of books every year, another major advantage of the screen. I often hear the cry “don’t print this email”, but I rarely hear the cry ‘stop printing books’. Last but not least, accessability is incredible, with a few clicks I can have almost any book that I want to read right in my hand, in the bad old days of paper book reading, that could have taken a week or 3 to order online and wait for it to be delivered.

    • Extraordinary this –> “the bad old days of paper book reading,”

      Yeah they were terrible weren’t they?? Those bloody “bad old days of paper book reading.” So annoying having to read Shakespeare, Milton, Joyce, Kafka, Keats, Hemingway, Miller, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner etc. in those “bad old days of paper book reading,”

      Yeah, thank God they’re gone, those pesky’ “bad old days of paper book reading,” GOOD RIDDANCE!!

      • Katie Hedges

        You can still read all of these on e-readers, and the beauty of it is, a lot of these works are public domain. You can get them for free, whereas you would still have to pay for a paper copy of the book…I believe that both have their advantages. Books don’t have to be on paper for them to still be available to us avid readers. I have Shakespeare, Austen, Kafka, Wilde, and many more on my e-reader.

  • Natalia Kucirkova
    • carolinetweed

      Get a weekly check for working freelance jobs on your computer… Just imagine regular weekly payment! You can do it as a part time or full time job!—->MORE-INFO————————————

  • Pingback: Can Students ‘Go Deep’ With Digital Reading? | MindShift | The Sharing Tree()

  • Suzzie Reader

    This article was a very interesting read.

    • Megan Reece

      I think this article is very insightful and intriguing as this is an issue to consider in today’s society. As technology is rapidly encroaching on every aspect of our daily lives, it is no different for our classrooms. As a college student I personally agree that print is more user friendly, easier to engage with and is more dependable than digital media. As an elementary student teacher, my biggest concern is how engaged and aware my students are of what they are reading. I want my students to comprehend their text and its purpose so I want to use whatever media is most effective. This article discusses the most concerning matter with printed text in schools is students are not allowed to write in/annotate their work for it is used for future students BUT there is always sticky notes available as a solution. Digital media is much easier to transport, easy to annotate/write in and technologically more advanced but students seem to retain less information. I personally prefer print, and probably will until it is no longer used but I always want my students to be prepared if digital media is all that is available one day. I think classrooms should use a nice balance.

  • Pingback: Reading: Digital vs. Print (Is there a clear winner?) | Cannon School Admission()

  • Pingback: Digital Reading | ICT Discoveries()

  • Pingback: OTR Links 09/11/2014 | doug — off the record()

  • Pingback: Hope for the Future of Books | Digital Book World()

  • InklingBooks

    You know what outranks in importance every other type of reading? It’s reading for fun. A student who reads for fun is likely to master other forms of reading, including study and note taking. One who hate reading won’t.

    If you were seven and up, would you carry one of the Kindles—either epaper or tablet—with you most of the time? Of course not. They’re fragile. They don’t like being wet. They’re too large to fit in anything but an adult coat pocket. And even if that you you didn’t worry about the money lost if one got lost or damaged, your parents would. For kids up into teens, Kindles, Nooks and iPads are not always a good idea.

    What’s needed is a pocket-sized kids epaper reader, one that’s cheap, rugged and has an easily replaced battery. One that isn’t proprietary, meaning it can get ebooks from a host of sources. And it need not look like a toy. It can be all that without being something that an adult wouldn’t mind carrying with them. In fact, outdoor-minded adults will like them too. Our smartphones are far too fragile, even when wrapped inside cases. On vacation we have to worry too much about them getting stolen.

    When I was a kid, I spent many hours perched far up in a tree reading. I also spent much time wandering about in woods, always with a trusty pocket knife and a few other odds and ends just in case. What didn’t merge were those two worlds. Books were thick hardbacks, mostly boys adventure stories and scifi, that I checked out of the library. I couldn’t carry them with me while prowling streams and creeks. I moved clumsily between two worlds: my own outdoor adventures and those in books.

    What’s needed is an ebook reader that merges the two worlds of kids, rough and tumble outdoor play and reading. A kid that’s doing the first should be able to switch to doing the second in an instant.

    –Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books

    Co-author of Lily’s Ride: Rescuing her Father from the Ku Klux Klan (a YA novel set in 1870s NC)

  • Pingback: Can Students ‘Go Deep’ With Digital Reading? | Tablettoddlers()

  • Paige F.

    For a long time I really disliked eReaders, and reading on
    the computer. It was hard for me to focus on the screen and I would lose place
    often in articles and readings for class, I would (and usually do) print the
    article or reading off in paper form. Through my edtech class, and now through
    our literacy class I have learned a great deal about how to use my devices more
    effectively. I can also now see them being beneficial in the classroom. I hope
    to teach lower grades (K-2) so some of the annotation and highlighting would
    not be as necessary. I do think that I will use eReaders in some form in my
    classroom though, maybe as a special tool for students to learn how to use the
    device, and read interactive stories during independent reading. I could see these
    devices being very helpful with ESL students because of read aloud and
    dictionary features. Overall, I don’t think paper books will ever be obsolete,
    but teachers need to ensure that their students are technologically literate
    and ready to learn in any format.

  • Jessie J.

    I think digital reading is a great tool for students and
    teachers. Not only can you leave notes and highlight without ruining the book,
    you can change print size, margin size, and even the background color of the
    book with a simple touch of a button. That kind of personalization is awesome
    for students. They can decide what settings work best for them and their
    learning. I disagree with the article
    stating that there are too many “bells and whistles” to digital reading. Like
    with all new things, digital reading takes practice, but those bells and whistles
    can be very beneficial, especially when you take the time to get to know all
    the possibilities digital reading provides. For example, if you come across a
    word you don’t know in a digital reader, you can highlight the word and it
    gives you an option to define it. Digital reading is all about personalizing the
    reading experience. I hope digital reading never replaces reading from actual
    books, but I think they can work together and provide a more holistic approach
    to reading, especially in this era of ever increasing new technologies.

  • Reading Rachel

    I agree with many points made in this article, and think that many parts of this made me think of things that I had not thought of before with this topic. Personally, I think that there is a time and a place for each type of book and they both need to be used appropriately. I don’t think that one or the other need to be only used, there are pros and cons of each. I believe that digital reading can be very interactive and engaging for the students. I think that his type of reading should be used for books that students read to learn and for fun reading in the class with assignments. I liked the point that was made in this article about how when students are studying, they can’t write and highlight, making points to remember on digital readers. Which is why I believe that when students are studying or using textbooks, they should be in print. This would be easier for students to write and make marks and study easier. It can be hard to highlight on digital books for some people. I completely agree with Pennington when he states that there is room for both types of books and our schools and teachers need to try and incorporate both into the classroom for the most beneficial learning.

  • Rebecca Reader

    In the article it talks a lot about annotating and using the
    different features on an e-reader, and I think that is a huge advantage of
    using those devices. By allowing the
    students to take notes directly on the “pages” and do it right as they are
    reading could help with their comprehension as well as keep them motivated to
    read as that might be more fun for them.
    Also one of the biggest problems with literacy is finding ways to get students
    motivated and keep them motivated. Using
    a digital reading device could help to motivate them, and make it more interesting. It might make them want to read a book for
    fun! Also motivating students to want to
    read can help with their comprehension, if they have interest in the book they
    are reading they will be more likely to pay attention and comprehend what they
    are reading. Although I think e-readers
    are a great step forward in children’s literacy, I still think it is important to
    use print text, and be sure that students are able to literate using both
    types. An e-reader should not replace
    print text and vice versa.

  • Taylor

    I personally enjoyed reading this article and found some points to be very interesting and
    also thought provoking. Coming from a generation that grew up with print materials, there’s just something about the
    fresh smell of a newly opened book. Slowly but surely, schools are moving towards being hands-free, it’s unavoidable. However, I do have to say that I enjoy the best of both worlds. I love being able to read and mark up my book with a regular old ballpoint pen;
    however, I love my e-reader as well. I enjoy being able to access all of my books in one while device while also being
    able to highlight and make notes all with the swipe of my finger. Granted, I am not the most technologically savvy individual, however, I see both the benefits and disadvantages of moving
    to a digital world but I am open to these types of changes in our schools.

  • Reading Randy

    1. Subheading: Drawback of Devices … For Now”
    This is a beautiful and hilarious illustration of the clear and present bias of a writer/editor/publisher. And if I had to take a guess, I’m going with editor/publisher, because of the hugely evident bias MindShift has toward digital learning. The bias is established in the first sentence: “some recent research suggests students may comprehend more from reading print.” SOME … MAY … ? To borrow a line from SNL, really? Where’s the research that indicates kids comprehend better on digital devices than print? Oh yeah, there’s a story from one principal based on one experience.
    3. Subheading: “Teaching New Skills”
    The work of Maryanne Wolf is very important, and will hopefully prove to be meaningful in the future. Deep reading and annotation are skills that must be taught. Where do we start? Print. Where do we move? Digital. This is teaching a new skill, because it’s teaching new interactions with the text. My question: where’s the time to teach the new skills coming from? No teachers are being given more time to teach new skills. But the Smarter Balanced assessments mentions are assessing the students’ reading ability, now. How do we provide teachers and students not only with the resources to learn these new skills that will probably prove to be essential in the future (whether we prefer print and it is proven to be a more positive experience or not) but also with the time to learn these new skills?

  • Reading Rachel

    I think this post brings up some good points about the negatives of students
    using e-books in schools. On the other hand, I think transitioning students to
    digital readers is where we are headed. I personally just started reading books
    on a Kindle, and I discovered how all of the adjustable features made reading
    easier for me. With e-books, students are able to adjust font size, background
    color, and brightness. These are features that typically “one size fits all” in
    print text. As the post mentions, we need to teach students strategies to be
    successful in this new learning environment. We cannot expect to put a e-book
    in front of students and expect the exact same comprehension as print text,
    without teaching them strategies. As for the note taking issue, I think once
    students become familiar the annotation feature, it will be hard for them to
    pick up a pencil and sticky note while reading.

  • Pingback: Can Students ‘Go Deep’ With Digital Reading? | thehealthcarerevolutionblog()

  • Clarissa

    The main idea that I got out of this article is that I must teach my students how to properly read and interact with digital texts. Students must be taught how to use them properly. Even if they interact with them on an everyday basis, they may not know to what extent, or even how they can use the features that are offered.

    In response to college students preferring to take notes in print texts, I think we have to keep in mind what generation is currently in college. While many young children today have experience working with technology in classrooms, many college students did not have that experience in elementary school. Those in college are not used to taking notes on a digital reader, so they probably prefer print text as that is what they were taught to use. There is a learning curve to everything, so why take the time to learn something new when the ‘old’ thing still works? This is another important reason to teach students to read both digital and print items. It allows students to see the options available to them and pick the one that is most beneficial to them, not just the one that happened to be taught in their school.

  • Sally D.

    As a college student reading this, I had mixed emotions
    about it. Like many, yes, I do still print off articles and other things from
    time to time to read instead of reading them digitally. However, this is
    usually due to how I’m feeling: if I have a headache, if I’m tired, if
    allergies are getting the best of me, etc. However, for the most part, over the
    past couple of years, I have begun to transfer most of my reading into a
    digital resource. I find myself more often than not, grabbing my kindle instead
    of heading to the bookstore. I think that this is where we are going to find
    most of the students going through the school systems now. With that in mind I
    think that we need to be still using print books, but we also need to be
    incorporating digital readings. If we can teach our students how to read
    efficiently digitally and with a hard copy of the print, then we are best
    preparing them for the future world of ever-changing multi-modal resources.

  • Reader Erica

    I enjoyed this article a lot and I thought
    It had some great points. One of main points that I enjoyed reading about was
    the section that talked about taking notes and being able to “dirty up” their
    materials. When I was in school I remember being told not to write in a
    textbook and this is one great feature about having an eBook.

    I also think that there are so many
    other great options for choosing an eBook that I believe this article left out
    or failed to mention. One section that I disagree with states that in a study “students
    better understood when not distracted by the bells and whistles of a book”,
    although this may be true for some students, some may get more out of the book
    with the bells and whistles. A great thing about eBooks is that if you do not
    want the sound you can turn it down or even off, but the option is still there
    for students who need it. I love
    paperback books and I don’t think there will even come a time that I will go
    completely digital, but there are definitely benefits for digital reading especially
    with new or struggling readers.

  • Teacher Reader Al

    I have never really been interested in reading and I thought
    that I would hate e-books. Once I started learning about how technology could
    be used for learning, I started to get interested. There are so many
    interactive apps that can engage students in learning, it’s unbelievable. When
    I started to learn about e-books, I wasn’t too excited. Then, I got to
    experience using a Kindle Fire. Using the Kindle Fire opened my eyes up to so
    many possibilities. While reading, if I found something that was interesting, I
    could highlight and create a note right there on the page. On one device! Not
    only can you highlight and create notes, you can click on a word and get a
    definition of it; no spending time to look it up in a dictionary! Good for saving time. There are so
    many positive attributes with using a Kindle Fire that could come in handy in
    the classroom, coming from a future teacher. One attribute I am interested in
    is the “read aloud” feature. This would be great for students who are blind,
    visually impaired, or students who have trouble reading. I am not saying forget
    the printed books, because these are a great resource for the classroom, but
    using e-books gives the teacher a chance to change it up in the classroom. I
    would love to get the opportunity to use digital reading devices in my future classroom!

  • Katie Hedges

    Both virtual and physical
    text have a place in the classroom when teachers want every child to be a
    successful reader. I never thought that I would want anything other than an
    actual book in front of me. I’ve now had a kindle for a year and a half and I
    love it. It is easy to make notes, highlight passages, and define unfamiliar
    words. When I was in school, if there was a question about words we didn’t
    know, we would stop, get up, find a dictionary, look up the word, and write the
    definition in a separate notebook. It was such a lengthy interruption of the
    reading process that by the time I was finished, I couldn’t even remember what
    I was reading to begin with. Children that have an aversion to reading can be
    pulled in with interactive virtual books. Children with reading disabilities
    can enjoy a book without help from a teacher or peer, because they have the
    option to have it read to them. Paper books will always be a viable teaching
    tool, but e-readers are opening and expanding the world of books and reading to
    those who might not have dared to enter before.

  • TeacherMom

    I am a
    nontraditional college student, majoring in elementary education. I student teach next semester. I grew up in the 90s when the Internet was
    just taking hold. For some reason, I
    find this whole conversation of print vs. digital amusing. After eons of humans using print media, are
    we really questioning its effectiveness?
    It is going to depend on a person’s personal preferences and learning
    style as to whether or not they learn better on one or the other. For a struggling reader, digital books can
    open up a whole new world for them. I,
    personally, use both paper books and e-books.
    I think e-books are more portable.
    With digital books, you can take a plethora of books with you on one
    device. I think the implications for
    education are the greatest benefits that come from e-books. Schools could save vast amounts of money on
    textbooks alone. I don’t know why we’re
    taking sides on this issue. It seems to
    me that it is obvious that there is a place for both in this world. Let’s face it: technology is here to stay. We may as well embrace it, learn from it, and
    adapt it to fit our needs.

  • Chelsea E.

    I like the comment Pennington
    states saying it does not matter the medium to be a good reader as long as the reader
    is engaged. Students can read a book in any format they would like but if they
    are not engaged and enjoying what they are reading then they will struggle with
    trying to read. I agree that print books are easier to flip back and forth
    between pages. Students can easily turn a couple pages at a time or they can
    look back at a couple pages at one time. Another thing that stood out to me was
    about making annotations. I think that whether it’s an e-book or print book you
    can write notes. In a print book you can use sticky notes and in the e-book you
    have a place to write notes. It really depends how well you know how to work an
    e-book whether it would be easier or harder than a print book. I prefer reading
    print books but do like some features such as the dictionary on e-books. There
    are many ups and downs about each type of book.

  • Pingback: Can Students ‘Go Deep’ With Digital Reading? | Digital Technologies()

  • Teacher Lau

    This article brought up lots of great discussion points, especially for educators in today’s technology driven society. First of all, in order for learning to occur we know that students must be actively engaged in the learning process. Whatever we ask our students to do must to have a clear purpose. It is our job to meet our students where they are- yes, I am still getting used to reading a text from an e-book and still struggle with learning all the various “bells and whistles” offered on such devices. However, our students have grown up reading on Kindles or iPads so this is nothing new to them, like it is for many of us. One statement by Principal Erik Burmeister that stood out to me was, “In a traditional school environment, you’re given a textbook and told not to write in it at all. And this is really counter-intuitive to what we want kids to be able to do in the real world…We want them to write all over the things that they’re reading.” After putting some thought into this statement, I have to agree. Although I often prefer reading a paper copy version of a book, I vividly remember how frustrating it was when I was in elementary and high school and could not take notes or even highlight in the text. This made it much more difficult to go back when it was time to study for the test. This article doesn’t necessarily take a side as to which method of reading is better- there are clearly pros to both a paper copy of a text and an e-book version. As a teacher the best thing I can do is to know my students. Once I accomplish that then I can figure out what will be the best way to meet my students needs.

    • Lauren T.

      I agree that everything we do as a
      teacher needs to have a clear purpose. I also completely agree that knowing my
      students’ needs is essential in making the book or eBook decision. I believe
      that reading a text in a real book or an eBook should be up to the student and
      their personal needs. I agree that what Principal Erik Burmeister said made a
      great point. The more students interact with text the more they remember from
      the text. Annotating the text and defining words as they read helps students
      connect things to their prior knowledge. We know from Jean Piaget that
      connecting things to prior knowledge is essential to learning.

      However, I do not completely agree with Mark Pennington’s comment about how talking to the text is the best way to identify how a student understands the text. There are other ways to identify if the student comprehends what he or she is reading. According to Dr. Beth Scott, professor at Penn State Harrisburg, there are other ways to identify a student’s comprehension such as an interview, or questionnaire. She also talks about the benefits of think alouds. Think alouds are very similar to annotating; if the student is conveying their thoughts as they read in an eBook it could be assessed as a think aloud. However, a think aloud can also be done while reading text from a book as well. Assessing a student’s comprehension while reading eBook is not necessarily more accurate than assessing their comprehension while reading a book. It is also possible for a student to connect text from a book to their prior knowledge by using strategies like think alouds. This decision or book versus eBook just depends on the students’ personal reading preferences.

  • TeacherS

    Reading on a computer, tablet, or Ipad has really never been
    ideal for me because I was raised having a textbook and printing articles
    off. While this may be easier for me, it
    may not be the preference of another person. I really enjoyed this article
    because I was able to see people’s opinions on going more digital with reading.
    In the future I want to teach a special education classroom. In that classroom
    I do want to help my students become as literate technologically as I can. A
    big plus that I see with the digital readers is that there are some books that
    can be read aloud to the students. Overall, I found the article interesting
    because it talked about the negatives of having to annotate in a digital book
    compared to a textbook. If anyone were actually to try to annotate in a digital
    reader, they would find that it can be difficult at first but once they learned
    how to complete the process, it really was pretty simple.

  • Kristin

    I thought this was a very interesting article to read. Many
    good points were brought up and made me think deeper into the subject of print
    vs. digital reading. I can see the pros and cons of both types of reading. I
    believe that as educators we should prepare our students for all options in the
    future. Students should know that they have options and be prepared to use the
    option that works best for them. This might be print reading or digital
    reading, but students should have the choice. Students will run into all types
    of digital and print reading in the future and I want my students to be
    prepared to effectively use both types of reading in whatever situation they
    may encounter. With that said I cannot say that one is better than the other
    because I believe that they both excel in different situations. The reading options should not be substituted to the teacher’s preference, but rather used in unison to achieve a goal.

  • Darbey Madden

    “Mark Pennington believes that there will always be room for both print and digital reading in school.” I agree with Mark. There will always be room for both print and digital reading in schools, and to limit reading instruction to just one without the other would be limiting the opportunities and potential of our students. Every student is different and will come into our classrooms with different needs. As pointed out in this article, there are many benefits to reading text on paper. However, I believe there are many benefits to reading digitally as well. Although my preference for where and how I read change given the WHAT I am reading… I have recently enjoyed learning how to use digital devices for reading. I have also found that there ARE ways to effectively and efficiently highlight and take notes throughout a digital read on devices such as the Kindle Fire. Notes can be easily accessed and with one click can take you to the exact page you referenced! With all of this being said, the old soul in me will always love the smell of a book and the feeling of turning the pages!

  • Jordan B.

    I would have to agree with Mark Pennington and say that
    there will always be a time and a place for both print and digital texts in the
    classroom. It is my most sincere hope that we never see a day where one exists
    without the other. The article pointed out pros and cons of both kinds of text.
    I can see both sides of the argument and understand that there are different
    situations where one kind of text might be more appropriate than the other. The
    most important thing that I am going to take away from the article is how
    crucial that it is for the teacher to use their best judgment as to deciding
    which kind of text their students need to use. As teachers, we need to have our student’s
    best interests at heart. We much ask ourselves, “How are my students going to
    benefit from this reading today? Will print or digital text make that happen
    for them?

    • Brittany M

      I agree as well with Mark Pennington in this article. A lot of people I know are turning mostly towards digital with books. While I love the versatility of my ebooks, it just can’t beat my paper back books. One example of the major drawbacks of digital books is losing the ability to dictate page numbers. While if your class is all reading the same book you can tell them to turn to page 547 and they can. With most ebooks we are stuck to title pages unless we are going to have all the students set everything the same. If we do that though, why even read the book in the first place?

    • Elly M

      I also agree with Mark Pennington when he says that there is room for both print and digital books. Personally, I love reading books in print. However, there are definitely advantages to the digital books. I hadn’t realized how easy it can be to flip through and find all your notes. I liked this much more than taking the time to go find paper and a pencil to write down all my notes. Not that it’s a big hassle, just more inconvenient. I can also see how student could more easily be distracted using e-books instead of reading from print too. I think students can benefit from both types of text. It’s important that the teacher knows when it’s best to use which type of text and teach them to use the proper tools to go with it in order for them to benefit most from the reading.

    • Katelyn Hogsett

      I definitely agree with your thoughts, Jordan. Mark Pennington states some very good points in his article, and I love how he represents both sides of the argument concerning print and digital texts. I also agree that there is a time and a place for each one to be used. Though I personally prefer print texts, I also see how using a digital text would be advantageous in some situations. However, when discerning which one to use in the classroom, we really do need to be cognizant of what is going to be best for our students. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful perspective on this article and for putting our focus back on what truly matters—the students!

    • Bailey Geiman

      I very much agree with your comment, Jordan! I am most definitely a fan of both print and digital texts. I believe both can bring in new things to a classroom and help students see text in a different light and perspective. The most important thing was how teachers use digital and print text. There is always a time for one of them. Digital text is good for interaction and a good visual, and print is great for annotating. Both have their pros and cons. It is all about what is best for your students. You have to know your students! Also, giving them an option if possible is always a great thing for kids.

    • Kaleigh Klim

      Jordan, your thoughts are extremely insightful and i couldn’t agree with you more! A world without both print and digital texts is a world that would be hard to live in. Both texts have there own thing that they can bring to the table. There are moments when I physically need a book in front of me in order to annotate or to put me in the mood of reading. Other times I prefer digital texts because that is what I have become accustomed to. A while back I hated the thought of giving up my print books for that of digital ones. I never saw digital texts as the same, but after recently being required to use digital texts over that of printed ones I have come to love them just the same. Digital texts make it easier to flip through pages, look up terms, and makes notes along the way.

  • KJanowski

    One of the most important points missing from the article and the discussion is acknowledging the unique needs of students with learning variabilities – dyslexia and reading disabilities, English Language Learners, students with vision impairments and students who cannot hold a book in a traditional manner due to physical disabilities. Considering various reading options isn’t about what we prefer but about opening up the joy of reading for students who struggle with print books. Some have mentioned the ability to change the visual interface – more white space, change fonts and font sizes, increase the size of margins, change colors. The true value is the ability to add text to speech with e-text. There are many text to speech options but one of the best is the VoiceDream Reader app ($9.99), which includes the ability to completely alter the visual interface to optimize the reading experience. To learn more about free text to speech options, check out

  • Taylor Murray

    I agree with many of the points that are made in this article. There are both positives and negatives of online reading and print reading, and there are many contributing factors such as environment and motivation that play in as well. Personally, I agree with the majority of students who favor print reading because of the note taking ability: for me, it is much simpler and more efficient to write my thoughts in the margins or even on a scratch piece of paper as I go. I often find myself frustrated with the online reading and feel that it takes too much time to create a note or get the exact words highlighted. It makes a lot of sense that this generation is simply adapting to the new learning strategy of online reading, and that with time, we will all adjust to doing most of our readings digitally.

  • Angie I

    I agree that sometimes its easier
    grabbing a pencil and sticky note to make notes in a reading. But I
    also agree that we need to prepare our students for the future. That
    skill of making sticky notes in books is going to eventually go away
    when technology gets so advanced. I think Pennington should have
    introduced the feature of taking notes during their assessment
    because for some students that could have been really helpful and for others that do not see it as helpful didn’t have to use it. We are in
    this stage in life where we are in the middle of using old techniques
    and also trying to learn new ones with new technology. I think over
    time students will be more comfortable with technology because that is the direction education is moving.

  • Chelsea Murphy

    Mark Pennington’s comment about not bothering to teach his
    students how to use the annotate feature because they could barely walk while
    chewing gum really rubbed me the wrong way. What technology adults find
    difficult to use, many members of the younger generations find easy to use.
    Many toddlers are able to unlock their parent’s phones, find the app they want
    to use, open it up, and sit down and play with relative ease. I think the
    reason he didn’t teach it to them wasn’t because his students weren’t capable
    of using it, I think the annotation feature frustrated him and he didn’t want
    to struggle to answer any questions his students asked and so he didn’t want to
    teach it. I think he felt that placing the blame on his students was easier
    than admitting his shortcomings.

    • Katie S

      I agree that Mark Pennington
      probably should have at least taught them about the annotation feature;
      however, I disagree that he did not want to teach them because it frustrated
      him or was an inconvenience to him at all. All students have different learning
      styles and preferences. The annotation feature could have worked wonderfully
      for some students; however, it sounds like using this strategy for this type of
      assessment would not have benefitted students. For one, it would have taken a
      lot more time. Time constraints can be valid reason to teach or not teach some
      things. Teachers have to make the choice about what to teach and how in-depth
      to teach certain things all the time. The second reason is that constantly
      having to switch between windows is a hassle. I imagine the students would have
      become frustrated with this rather quickly. It also sounds like whatever
      program they had to use to take the test did not have the feature to quickly
      locate notes or list them all in one place. It sounds like they had to do a lot
      of scrolling. It just sounds as if the test interface needed some work to make
      it an option that Mark Pennington thought was viable for his class.

    • Michaela B

      I found it interesting that one of the main points of the article is that note taking is not as easy to do on a digital device. In other readings that I have done it is made to seem that one of the best parts of digital readers is the not taking capabilities they have and how much students will use them. I wonder it Chelsea was correct in saying that the teacher was frustrated with the program and that is why he decided to not teach his students about the annotating feature? Because, like she said, children pick up on how to run technology very quickly. So, something that we as adults find difficult to use probably wouldn’t be a problem for young students.

      • Mark Nelson

        I agree with your assessment. For myself, I find note taking on a Kindle fire to be extremely useful and easy to do. I would also say that it is a simple convenience that makes a difference. Instead of juggling a book, pen, and page, trying to notate (which, for me, isn’t a difficult task, but on some level is troublesome enough to discourage me from doing it) I can linger over the word, and type a quick note. This small convenience encourages me to take more notes, without it feeling laborious. Opinions and preferences on this either/ or situation matter and change the conversation for each person. Another consideration I would offer, is the accessibility of the different reading platforms, and their devices. Some may be easier to use, and other may not even feel worth the time to learn and/ or implement.

    • Lauren Craig

      I, too, was perturbed by his comment about the annotation features being too difficult for students who can’t even “walk and chew gum”. As previous commentators have already pointed out, younger and younger children are beginning to be able to fully operate and manipulate their parent’s phones or tablets to get to the app or site that they wish to play on. When working with generations that were raised with technology, it is almost a disservice to them to assume that they would not be able to quickly pick up and utilize any features available to them. Growing up as an avid reader, I always wished that I was able to take note of certain passages or parts in the story; however, neither my mother nor the library would have been too happy with that. The note-taking capabilities that today’s devices possess are incredible in that students can highlight a passage, take a note, or define a word in a matter of seconds. While I agree that digital books should not replace real books, I think that digital books are a tool that we need to utilize in our schools to keep our teaching relevant and up to date.

  • Sammi P.

    I agree with many of the points in this article. I like how
    Pennington mentions that motivation and environment play a huge role in
    engagement when using technology in the classroom. While some children are
    engaged and interested by the presence of technology alone, most children need
    material that is relatable and interesting to them. Teachers have to know their
    students and have a solid understanding of whether or not their students can
    handle the extra features that come along with digital reading. I think
    teachers need to teach students to personalize their devices to the settings
    that work best for them. I think that almost any student can learn how to use a
    digital text effectively, as long as they have been given instruction on how to
    accommodate their learning styles. I agree that teacher’s need to provide print
    text along with their digital resources to meet the needs of every student, but
    the world is becoming more and more reliant on technology and students need to
    know how to function in that type of society.

  • Shelby W.

    I think this article had some really great points in it. I
    agree with many of the key points pointed out in the reading. The first quote
    that stood out to me was when Pennington said, “One of the best ways for
    readers to show engagement with the text, is through marginal annotations.” I
    know I always comprehend what I read better if I annotate the text while I read
    it. I think for younger children, taking notes helps them remember what they
    read and be able to go back to a certain place if they had a question over it.
    Another key point I agree with from the article is that it is easier to take
    notes in a print book rather than in an e-book. I think if you have your students
    practice enough with taking notes in an e-book they will eventually adapt to
    it. It is just like that for anything, practice makes perfect.

  • Laurie McFarlane

    “In a recent New Yorker article, Being a Better Online Reader, Maryanne Wolf, author of a history of reading called Proust and the Squid, said she’s developing digital apps to help train students to deep read digitally. She cites a new study that showed fifth-graders became better digital readers after learning how to use the digital annotation feature.

    The same plasticity that allows us to form a reading circuit to begin with,
    and short-circuit the development of deep reading if we allow it, allows us to
    learn how to duplicate deep reading in a new environment,” Wolf said in the

    I’m definitely with Ms. Wolf. Electronic readers already provide the ability to highlight and annotate text, search features to find key passages or words, and one-click term definition. In addition, students can bold, highlight, increase font size, change background color, or otherwise edit material they are reading in order to visually emphasize major points. Integration of a voice-to-text feature could allow students to record thoughts, questions, or summaries of what they’ve read, and attach them to a particular section of text. Hyperlinks could be included as a means of connecting student responses to the text in the form of thinking maps, photos, documents, and audio or video clips.

    That being said, the fact remains that research is showing hand-written notes to be more effective in promoting student retention than typed notes, due to the deeper processing involved. (Mueller and Oppenheim –

  • For me, print on physical page or electronic is a secondary issue. The actual educational issue here is teaching kids (of all ages) to learn and employ reading strategies. In life they will read texts of all type on all types of media—everything from cookbooks to road signs to linguistic theory textbooks. They have to know what strategies to employ and then actually employ them. That is “learning to read.”

  • Annelise C.

    I love to read. I think just like there is no one way to teach math there is not one way to teach reading. This is why I don’t think annotations are the best way, I think they are a way. I personally don’t comprehend any better when I use annotations, sometimes I actually feel like I comprehend less. I have to keep stopping to highlight or put notes and I miss the flow of the test. I have never grown up using annotations, so that might be part of it. I know other students who it does help them. I think it is important to know that one reading comprehension strategy might not work well for all students. I do agree with the article about that an engaged reader is very important, I don’t think you have to be engaged about reading to be a good reader. I do think that being engaged helps with wanting to read hence if you want to read you most likely are going to become a better reader.

  • Tess O.

    I agree with this article, that there are many advantages and
    disadvantages to both text books and e-books.
    I believe that it depends on the student, because some students need to
    be able to touch the pages and turn them in the book; while other students may
    rather not see the whole book. There are
    advantages of text books, like mentioned the note taking. This is easier with text books, and this is
    why I would have to agree with the majority of the students that said they
    liked to have the books in their hands. I
    find it easier to take notes and mark important pages in a text book; however,
    when I use the online reading I find it complicated and time consuming to take
    notes. I also see the positive with
    e-books, such as the price. They are
    much cheaper than regular books and can be more interactive than text
    books. I feel that it truly depends on
    your students, and we need to concentrate on what our student needs and meet
    those needs so they can learn.

  • Lola Knight

    Reading online or reading in print both have advantages and
    disadvantages. Personally I like reading books for pleasure on my kindle and text books in print. I agree with the article when it talks about how difficult it is to find annotations, bookmarks or notes on digital readers. On a digital reader you have to scroll through countless notes and annotations in order to find the note that you are looking for. In a print edition you can quickly flip to your color coordinated labeled sticky note in seconds and you have the visual reference. My other main problem with digital readers or digital readings is the fact that you have to look at a lit screen for a long period of time and that can hurt my eyes or give me headaches. Some positive aspects of digital readers are the fact that you can customize the way that you read by changing font size or background color. Even after thinking about the pros and cons of digital and print reading I still cannot make up my mind about what medium should be used in schools the most.

  • Mary Kate D

    I agree with a lot of what was said in this article. I think it’s important for students to be
    able to work with both digital and print style readings. Teachers play a big part in the way students
    feel about reading in general, and they can influence how the transition
    between the two types affects students.
    I was especially interested in what the author said about making notes
    in the margins of print books versus digital.
    I personally find notes in the margins very distracting when I’m reading
    print text, but they don’t bother me as much in digital readings. I think it’s important to let students
    explore between the two so they can figure out the best way for them to learn

  • Sara C

    This article presented many valid points when talking about
    the advantages and disadvantages of digital reading. The article made it clear
    that the factor most dependent on the success of reading comprehension is the
    teacher and how she presents the reading material. Another big factor is the environment
    of the classroom. Teachers must get to know their students and the student’s reading
    styles before handing them an eBook. Teachers must also create a positive
    learning environment where students are open to new teachings. Although I
    personally think the use of electronics should be used when teaching reading, I
    also think it is necessary to have a balance between the two styles since print
    reading is still very popular. I believe students should be presented choices
    during their education and this is one choice that teachers can provide to

  • Cassie B.

    When it comes down to choosing between e-readers and “traditional” books, I personally prefer doing my pleasure reading with paper books, because I enjoy physically writing notes in the margins of my books. I enjoy being able to flip through the pages of my book, being able to quickly reference notes that I’ve made. Paper books also don’t have batteries that have to be charged in order to read them; e-readers do have to be charged periodically in order to use them, and it can be a pain if you’re stranded somewhere with no battery power. With that said, I have come to appreciate the e-reader within the past month or so. As a college student, I’ve been able to purchase textbooks at a much lower price on my e-reader; if I would have bought my textbooks as a physical paper copy, I probably would have spent a small fortune on them. I also appreciate the fact that with an e-reader, I’m able to have a countless number of books on demand on one device. There are definitely benefits to each type of media; classroom teachers need to discern which fits the needs of their students best at different times.

  • Kenzie R

    I strongly believe in the idea that “there will always be
    room for both print and digital reading in the school.” It is extremely
    important for students to remain up-to-date with technology in today’s world, and e-readers offer many accommodations for students. E-readers allow for differentiation in the text that could not be achieved in regular books. They are far more accommodating for those students with special needs; for example, for someone with a visual disability, the text can be resized, put on a different color background, or the brightness can be adjusted. However, for
    some students, it is apparent through this article that some find it hard to become engaged with the text provided by e-readers. I have found that the e-readers allow for fairly easy access to make annotations, but obviously for some students it is a difficulty that teachers must take into account. A teacher would have to make the decisions of e-readers versus regular books I think on a class-to-class basis. Not every class of students will be thrilled by e-readers, but then again, not every class will be able to be engaged by regular books.

  • Paige D

    I agree with a lot of what was said in this article. I think
    that it’s important for today’s students to get to experience both digital and print texts. Digital reading is becoming such a prominent part of today’s classrooms and I like how the author talked about easing the way into digital reading strategies. As a student currently, I agree with the part of the article that talks about preferring print reading because it’s easier to take notes over. Personally, I can take notes a lot quicker with print text than digital. I think as a teacher, with digital text it’s important to stress that students have the ability to ‘write’ all over the text. Students have the ability to highlight, make notes, and write on the text, etc. with digital texts when schools don’t have the resources to allow students to do that with print texts. I think it’s important as teachers to stress the importance of using both print and digital reading in today’s classrooms.

  • Bailey F

    I agree with several of the points made
    throughout this article. As a future teacher, I believe it is going to be very
    beneficial for my students to be able to use both digital and print reading.
    But how can students be successful in reading comprehension if they are more
    comfortable reading with one method as opposed to the other? They can be
    successful based on how the teacher displays the two different types of reading
    and developing a comfortable classroom environment. It is important for the teacher
    to get to know the students on a level where the students feel comfortable
    speaking about which learning style, specifically reading style, works best for
    them. If the teacher knows which style of reading the students understand best,
    the teacher will be able to create more assignments based on that style of
    reading. I think it is extremely important for students to be able to make the
    choice of which form of reading works best for them and I believe allowing them
    to investigate both ways is the best way to achieve that goal.

  • Mack H.

    This article had many great points in it and provided me
    with facts as well as insights that I had never thought about before. When it
    comes to printed text versus an e-book I have always preferred reading from a
    printed text book or novel instead. Recently after playing around on a Kindle,
    I have enjoyed the e-books more than I ever thought I would. As a future
    teacher it is extremely important for me to try out e-books and all the
    features they have to offer. Students will experience all kinds of different
    technology devices and it’s important to be informed and familiar with the
    tools digital readings provide us with. Pennington mentions that when using
    technology in the classroom students are generally more motivated and engaged.
    This is why everyone should take the time to familiarize themselves with the
    new and upcoming technology to keep the younger ones interested in learning.
    Although we should never become too dependent on this new found technology we
    have because sometimes the old-fashioned way can be better and more effective.

  • Dakota Smith

    I felt like the article had some very conflicting opinions on the topic of e-books vs. paper and ink books. I think a reason why the teacher in the beginning of the article wasn’t apt to use e-books was because he didn’t give his students enough credit and he didn’t seem to be familiar with digital reading. Teaching seventh graders to use the annotation features would not be difficult at all and many of them have probably had some practice using technology. I was also disappointed that he didn’t teach his students how to use the annotation features for their standardized test because he’s really doing a disservice to his students by not fully preparing them. I agreed more with the views later on in the article that said paper books and e-books are beneficial resources. Technology isn’t going away so we need to prepare our students and give them the chance to use technological resources in a positive and safe way.

  • Nita B

    This was a very interesting article. It had some very good points. Just like the article, I believe that there will always be room for print and text. I think when you compare anything there will always be advantages and disadvantages. This year I started reading books from a kindle. I like because I do not stress about how long it will take me to read a book versus when you pick up a book and see how thick or thin the book is. I also like about the kindle the fact that you can adjust the light setting versus not having that option when reading a regular book. What I don’t like about the kindle is the fact that I have to search through my notes to find a specific note that I took. I prefer to read on a device and take notes on pieces of paper. Whether my students read books from a device or from a regular book, in my future classroom I want my students to have the options of choosing what works best for their learning.

  • Sara S.

    As someone that grew up reading a ton of print books I would say that it’s not that I dislike reading from a screen but it doesn’t have the same appeal to me as it does kids of this generation. I have read my share of online texts since I started college and there have been a few benefits but I never seem to be able to get into the flow of reading through an app or tablet. This article had many good points about online text in the classroom and I agree that technology is making an advance in the classroom that we cannot stop. The benefits that I have enjoyed and, I’m sure will be great with students, is being able to post commentary anywhere you please in the text. If you try doing that in a real book you’ll either run out of room or crowd the pages with sticky notes. This interaction with the text opens up doors for teachers when assigning a reading; tons activities can be discovered such as highlighting quotes and responding to them. When students come across a tough word and want to look up the meaning, in a tablet all they have to do is click the word and ta-da; he days of flipping through a 1,000 page dictionary are over. I believe that when it comes to digital vs. print text it should be up to the students and the teacher when either variation would be appropriate. Sometimes checking out a book from the library has more of a benefit that an app or vice versa. Today’s technology will be minor compared to 10 years from now, and it will keep on changing; we as educators have to keep up with it the best we can to help prepare and educate our students.

  • Carrie K.

    This article brings up several good points when weighting
    the advantages and disadvantages of reading printed text verses digital text.
    In the end I think it all boils down to personal preference. I firmly believe
    that students should learn how to read digital text and stay as literate as
    possible when it comes to technology, but that doesn’t mean that print doesn’t
    have a place any longer. Those who are in favor of digital text often highlight
    the fact that readers have several options in how they want their text to look.
    It’s important to remember that printed text is still just as much a viable
    option as digital text. Whichever method of reading works best for a student
    should be the method used.

  • Sally Mae Walker

    I found this article to be interesting and intriguing. As someone who grew up just using print sources and hating reading things off a screen, it is a difficult idea for me for students to read off of technology. My first thought is, “How can this be for their eyes?” and then I begin to wonder if they’re able to comprehend as much. One of my biggest concerns about reading off of technology would be the amount of notes able to be taken, as the article talked about. It’s much easier to write in the margins of a book (or on sticky notes) than to type. It may cause a distraction to have to type the notes, moving back and forth from the text to the keyboard may prove to be a difficulty. The main point, though, is that the students will be reading, no matter the method.

  • Cristabell

    Sean you had some great points in your comment. I agree that there are some advantages as well as disadvantages to e-books. When reading digital text we have advantages than when reading the print text, since in many cases we are not allowed to write in the textbooks. When using digital text and we need to define a word we can just highlight the word and boom you get the definition right way, while with print you have to go and look in a dictionary. As Sean mentioned when having to writes notes or comments in a print text there is not enough room to write and in the digital text you can. I really like the feature of clicking a button and taking you to all the highlights and notes you made throughout the book, I think that is a handy feature instead of having to flip through the entire book to find your sticky note with a certain comment. I believe it all comes down to personal preferences. This article had some great points, for example that students should learn how to read both digital text and print text.

  • Sharon G

    I think this article makes some great points about both
    paper and e-book reading. As a person that loves reading, nothing compares to
    the feeling of opening a book and reading it. However, in the last couple of
    years I’ve shifted to reading e-books. I find e-book to be more practical and
    accessible compared to books. What I like about e-readers is the ability to highlight,
    annotate, and look up words. When reading a book you can do all of those things,
    but doing it with an e-reader is more organized. At the touch of few buttons
    you can review all your notes without having to look through the whole book. I believe
    this would be more beneficial for young readers because how accessible it is.
    Students can use this technology to share notes with other students and network
    with each other.

  • Kristin P

    I really enjoyed reading this article and becoming even more
    informed about the strengths and concerns associated with digital reading. As
    many of the previous comments have mentioned, I agree that it is important that
    students use both digital and print reading. I have always been more biased
    towards print reading. I like to be able to write things down, physically
    highlight, and just have the material right in front of me. I felt like I was
    able to read better that way. However, after exploring digital reading throughout
    the past few weeks on my kindle, I have become fonder of digital reading. There
    are so many cool features that I am able to utilize while reading on my kindle.
    For example, I’m still able to highlight and make notes as I go. These digital
    notes are actually much easier to go back and look at after reading, rather
    than having to tab through all the pages of a print book trying to find one
    specific note. I am still exploring, and find something new every day. I think
    that because students these days are becoming so involved with technology,
    teachers need to incorporate this into the classroom. That being said, as
    previously mentioned, I do feel that print reading should be utilized as well. Each
    student learns differently, so finding the balance between digital and print
    will prove very effective in my future classroom.

  • Justine D

    As I am in the process of receiving my elementary education
    degree, my classes for the past few years have put an emphasis on individualizing instruction, understanding that each student is different, and helping each student succeed by meeting their needs. Therefore, I think the effectiveness of comprehending and being engaged by a type of reading material depends highly on the student, not on whether the student is using print or a digital reading. This article explains how many schools are using digital devices like Kindles and IPads for reading, which I believe is valuable to our
    student’s learning as that does stay in line with our ever-changing world for now. While it is quite possible that the
    majority of the students will continue to be engaged with digital reading for years (seeing that many three year olds even know how to work an IPhone and IPad), it is never going to be the right thing for EVERY student. So, the research provided in this article helps in figuring out majority, but as educators, our
    mission is to help EVERY student succeed, so we will do all that we can to make that happen.

  • Ashlee

    I would have to agree with the article in stating that the debate between print and digital text is still ongoing. However, I also believe there are a lot of benefits that digital reading can offer. It is our responsibility as educators to not only teach our students how to critically read, but to prepare them for life after they leave the classroom. That is why it bothers me that “Pennington didn’t teach them how to use the test’s annotation feature” because he was afraid it would be too complicated for his students to learn how to use. I think seventh graders are highly capable of deciding for themselves whether or not to use the tools provided. I don’t necessarily think that digital text is better than print for instructional purposes, but it is clear that digital text is becoming more and more prevalent in our lives. Students today are much more tech-savvy than students were when I was younger because they have grown up in this technology rich culture. That being said, I think students should be taught how to use both print and digital text, and then they should be able to decide for themselves which format they prefer to use.

  • Jacey H.

    I think you make a very good point here. Part of learning to read includes being able
    to read and interpret all kinds of text you might be surrounded with, such as
    the cookbooks, road signs, and linguistic theory textbooks that you mentioned.
    Most certainly, the purpose for teaching students to read storybooks, textbooks,
    e-books, and online articles is to show them how the reading strategies can be
    applied in every situation. The ultimate goal is for them to eventually be able
    to apply the reading strategies to any kind of text they might come across in
    order to interpret its meaning. Thus, I think that as we seek to teach students
    these skills, using all kinds of media types including both printed copies and
    e-books, is critical to communicate to students that the reading strategies are
    meant to be employed in all reading situations to give them a better
    understanding of the significance of what they have read.

  • Pingback: Entering the Fray: Reading On Screen or on Paper |

  • Pingback: Can Students ‘Go Deep’ With Digital Reading? | MindShift | A Dangerous Thing()

  • Andrea

    I think you should leave us alone! Get more reasearch

  • Mark Stevenson

    I agree that students will have a hard time adjusting to a whole new system.

    • Shrak shark.

      I like food

  • Watermelondria Sharkisha

    I think that Mark Pennington has a good idea since they are making kids read off of screens for a big test in Arkansas. Yes kids need to know how to annotate in the article but first the need to get used to it.

  • Parter

    It’s a god idea but yes you need more info! More reasearch! Come on mark!

    • Cool Christina

      C’mon mark! It’s a GOD idea!

  • ihateschool

    im an 8th grade student and our big tests at the end of the year are now digital, and many of us are concerned.i for one hate didgital reading bc it’s starts to really bother your eyes. plus no note taking ability. bad idea

  • Grace Carrot


  • Noname

    I feel like they need to say the stuff about bad stuff

  • Pingback: Learning to Read Digital Text | The Thinking Stick()

  • Pingback: Lakefield College School’s Culture of Reading – LCS Learns()

  • Pingback: Making the Shift from Print to Digital()

  • Pingback: Books vs. Farm Work vs. iPads — education through the generations | dnablogster()

  • Eddie S Jackson

    Yeah, what I’ve known all along. There is an academic deficit using eBooks over a paper-medium. I give it at least 10 years…before the digital era will catch up to the simplicity of paper.

    If I see one more tablet…copied exactly like the previous one…I’m going to scream. Where’s the innovation?

    It’s crazy, tech manufactures can’t figure out how to digitize something as simple as a paper book. I would like to see a “book loader.” Where you buy a book, the pages are blank, but using the Internet, or little mini-SD cards, you can load a book to be read.

  • Pingback: » Can Students ‘Go Deep’ With Digital Reading? | Min…()

  • Vicky Carlson

    I teach online annotating for my high students using Diigo. The Newsela site with weekly current events articles also includes an annotation feature. Our students are not allowed to write in textbooks or library books, so we can only rely on sticky notes..which are not permanent. There are many opportunities for digital annotations.

  • Hannah C

    I agree that there is a time and place for both print and e-books. But, for me I know I prefer to read print because reading on an e-reader for extended periods of time hurts my eyes. I also feel tempted to use “the device”, whatever it is to do the other things that they have on it. I find it is too distracting. With a print book, there isn’t anything tempting (to me) outside of reading it or looking ahead to the ending. I do think that it can be used but I am just not sure of to what extent it should be used in a classroom. Also, what about the concept of TOO MUCH technology in the classroom? I am concerned that with the increases in technology that we will become even more so dependent on our technology. The one big benefit to a print book is that it doesn’t have a battery that could die meaning no more reading until you charge it. I did enjoy the article but I thought that Jordan B. made some valuable points. I would have to say that no matter what Mark Pennington’s opinion on the idea, I think he did a great job of explaining both sides of the spectrum. This gave me a unbiased article on the topic.

  • Hannah C

    I agree that there is a time and place for both
    print and e-books. But, for me I know I prefer to read print because reading on
    an e-reader for extended periods of time hurts my eyes. I also feel tempted to
    use “the device”, to get off task with the other features. With a
    print book, there isn’t anything tempting (to me) outside of reading it or
    looking ahead to the ending. I do think that it can be used but I am just not
    sure of to what extent it should be used in a classroom. Also, what about the
    concept of too much technology in the classroom? I am concerned that with the
    increases in technology that we will become even more so dependent on our
    technology. The one big benefit to a print book is that it doesn’t have a
    battery that could die meaning no more reading until you charge it. I did enjoy
    the article but I thought that Jordan B. made some valuable points. No matter
    what Mark Pennington’s opinion on the idea, I think he did a great job of
    explaining both sides of the spectrum.

  • Mr. P. Greer

    The take home message I seem to be getting from this reading
    is that if we are offering any type of e-book in our classrooms, we must be
    willing to take the time to fully train ourselves and the students on any
    features of the device that could help them comprehend or annotate the text. I
    feel the author may have a slight bias towards the integration of technological
    text over paper text, but I feel the points he made are too critical to
    overlook. Kids are doing the majority of their reading through devices now, and
    new developing features on e-readers are giving students ways to form
    annotation skills at younger ages without the fear of ruining school property. So,
    when he asks what the future for e-books is, I don’t think we can answer that
    yet. Though, I think we can safely say that it is going to be big.

    • A. Cisneros

      Mr. Greer,

      I agree with you. I think the
      author may have been a bit biased on incorporating e-books into the classroom
      over print. Although, I really liked his optimism, and his drive to implement
      them into his classroom. Technology is not going away anytime soon, and
      students are going to continue to gather knowledge on it; probably faster than
      educators. So, I think as future educators we need to realize this, and try our
      best to gather as much information as possible. There are ways to still implement
      print and e-books into our lessons, and still deliver an effective message to
      our students. Example: we can have the students use their e-books to read a
      book, and write notes/questions on a sheet of paper. This helps the students
      become familiar with the e-books form, and still allows them to use pen and
      paper. We all know time are changing, and soon there will be a new fab or social
      media that captures our students’ attention.

  • Kinsey C

    I agree
    with Pennington’s comment about there will always be room for both print and
    e-books. I really hope we never see the day that we have one and not the other,
    especially in our classrooms. I used to really dislike e-books, I felt like
    they weren’t easy to use and definitely preferred print books. My opinion has
    been changing though. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the feeling of
    holding my paper books, but I recently receive a Kindle Fire for class and I
    love the flexibility it gives me with taking notes in my books. I think the reason
    why some students and educators are hesitant with the e-book movement is because
    they haven’t been properly taught all the tools that can be used with e-books.
    If educators take the time to explain all of the tools e-readers have I think
    it will make it a lot easier for students to be engaged with the text. Once students are taught how to use all of the
    tools e-readers have, like highlighting, definitions, and limitless notes, I think
    they will grow to enjoy e-books because of their ease and accessibility.

  • Katelyn H.

    Something that I especially enjoyed reading was the first
    part of the article when it discussed the importance of the environment for
    reading and student engagement while reading. These two ideas are important to
    be aware of when using either print books or digital reading in the classroom.
    Students need to be in a positive learning environment to successfully be
    engaged and comprehend their reading. Teachers need to make students feel
    comfortable with reading whether they be reading a print book or reading from
    an eBook. Students need to be taught strategies such as asking questions while
    reading, making annotations, and making connections so that they can get the
    most out of reading. When students can use the appropriate strategies to use,
    they have the ability to read from multiple sources effectively. However, before
    students are able to read effectively, teachers need to create an environment
    of learning so that students can be engaged in their reading.

  • Krystal Clamors

    Growing up, throughout school we only had print text to read, all the way until the day I graduated high school. We were taught to write on sticky notes to annotate or if we had questions or comments for twelve years. I have been in college for over 4 years and within the past four years, I have only read books electronically for 1.5 years. It is a very new world to get used to; highlighting anything you please, taking notes on your iPad of Kindle. I must admit, it is a lot to get used to when you have grown up with regular print books. Though, I do not agree with Mark Pennington, when he did not teach his students how to use the annotate feature because he was having trouble with it and figured they would too. Pennington needs to understand that students now days are used to growing up and being around technology. Students now are more apt to understand things on electronic devices than most grown-ups. He should have used this annotation frustration as a way to connect with his students, find out what they know about it, give the students a chance to play with it, learn, and then maybe Pennington could have had a chance of learning from his own students.
    I will admit, it is weird reading something on a screen and not having the full book in front of you to flip back in pages to look over something. What I, and others must understand is, students and technological times are changing and using electronic devices in the classroom to read will become the new norm. Teachers need to get ready for it and play with their technology to figure it out, so they and their students willl be comfortable.

  • Perky015

    Reading through this article Mark Pennington has made some
    valid points on using technology as reading and textbooks. The remark about how digital makes it more difficult for students to use on test because they have to go back and forth to pages. Also have to look up where they saw the information at, which takes a long time. Unlike textbooks you can use sticky notes to mark and find the pages faster. Each way of reading has its advantages
    and disadvantages. At the end though it is up to how the students react to each one and their preference. Either directions student will have to learn how to take notes through books or on the technology device.

  • Chris W

    I strongly agree with Mr. Pennington’s first sentence in his
    final paragraph. I think there will always be a need for printed and digital text in the classroom. As an effective teacher it is our job to find the balance that fits our current students needs best. I also agree that improvements in the digital text note taking abilities will greatly expand the usefulness of digital texts to students.

    As a future elementary educator, I spent most of this article pondering how I would fit a balance of digital and print text into my classroom. I will confirm that I am biased towards the good old fashioned print text, but I also understand that for my future students to flourish I will have to experiment and see what works best for their learning needs. I cannot wait to get into my classroom and experiment using different types and medias of text.

  • Elizabeth S.

    This article really gave me quite a bit “food for thought.”
    The end of my elementary school years coincided with the boom in using
    technology not only inside of school, but outside as well. My small private
    school had just completely transitioned over from chalkboards to whiteboards,
    my eighth grade year saw a laptop cart shared throughout the entire school, and
    every classroom still used a projector with clear, laminated printouts. Using
    e-books in the classroom didn’t exist. Because of this, I still have biases
    towards traditional printed books and texts. It’s what I know, have
    experienced, am comfortable with, and learn the best from.

    But, we are entering a completely new age in history for
    education. Like the article mentioned, we can no longer ignore or resist the
    use of e-books and other reading technology in the classroom. I am nervous, but
    determined to make the best choices for my students regarding technology vs.
    traditional texts. Pennington gave an honest look into using e-books; they
    certainly have issues and limitations. But, as the end of his article mentioned,
    more needs to be done and researched to find the best ways to implement e-book
    technology in the classroom.

  • Paige Luthi

    In my personal opinion, I believe there will always be a need for traditional print books in schools. However with the newer generation of technology and digital readers it is important for students of all grades to be educated and aware of this type of reading print. It is our job as educators to build knowledge of both e-readers and print books and how to clearly comprehend the reading material. I like how the e-readers allow you to physically annotate on the page or passage you are wanting and that now most e-readers can look up or define specific words students are having trouble with. In this case, the e-readers are more beneficial and helpful for students comprehension of the text. However, I still want my students to have the knowledge of how to properly look up words in the dictionary without digital support, this a skill everyone should know. There should be a balance in the classroom between print books and e-books, I think this balance of mediums is the most beneficial for students to be well rounded readers.

  • Pumpkin Pie

    I will agree with the author when he states that
    motivation and environment play a big role in students reading engagement from
    printed text and digital readers. I
    think the different tools found in the digital reader are engaging, and
    motivate students to continue to read from the device. Such device as highlighting key points (for
    notes), audio device (for struggling readers), and dictionary usage (for
    vocabulary definition) are great engaging tools that support readers
    comprehension of digital reading devices, and they are tools that I enjoying
    using when I use different digital devices.
    But, I thinking the environment plays a key role in comprehending printed
    text thoroughly. For example, Mr.
    Pennington students took the English assessment on print text because it create
    learning environment that was less distracting than the digital reader. He made a decision that was best for his
    student to receive a fair assessment.

  • Hannah Handley

    In my opinion, I can agree with Pennington that both print and digital
    readings are needed in the classroom for students to learn from but as a future
    teacher out students need to know the expectations we have for them. Knowing
    how all parts of the technology work and what will help the students be as successful
    as possible. I also agree with Pennington when he said students nee the
    opportunities “to talk to the text, to create an internal dialogue with the
    text.” By doing this we are allowing students to be exposed to new strategies
    to read and become better readers. We need to remember though that all grades/students need to be a part of learning technology in the schools.
    What were some strategies you used to teach
    the students how to annotate?

  • Pumpkin Pie #1

    I agree with the author when he states that
    motivation and environment play a big role in students reading engagement from
    printed text and digital readers. I
    think the different tools found in the digital reader are engaging, and
    motivate students to continue to read from the device for pleasure. Such tools as highlighting key points (for
    notes), audio device (for struggling readers), and dictionary usage (for
    vocabulary definition) are great engaging tools that support reading comprehension from digital reading devices. But, I also think the learning environment plays a key role in comprehending printed
    text and digital readers thoroughly. For example, Mr.
    Pennington students took the English assessment on print text because it created a learning environment that was less distracting than the digital reader. He made a decision that was best for his
    student to receive a fair assessment. The decision allowed the students to write their notes on paper which is the best source for comprehension.

    • Regina Bledsoe

      I agree with you on how it is important to base your final decisions on whether to use these technologies based on the reading and comprehension levels of your students. If you are sure that they will not be successful with a digital reader, because they don’t have the skills to navigate it simultaneously with retaining all information obtained from the text, you should definitely choose to not use it in your classroom. It simply won’t be beneficial. There are so many other alternatives to using solely a digital reader, so students can work with materials that are at their level, while still using some sort of technology.

  • Becky Z.

    As Pennington states in the article: “The trick to being a
    good reader, no matter the medium, is being an engaged reader…” Pennington’s
    focus is on the students and doing what was/is best for them. An effective
    teacher is one that will look past what society thinks and what others want,
    and looks at their own classroom and students and create lessons and use
    resources to meet the students where they are and help push them to learn more
    when the time is right. Looking at standardized tests and how they have come to
    expect students to be able to have certain knowledge and resources is not
    always realistic. Pennington was able to see that his students may not have
    been ready to use a tool, that although may have been beneficial and help the
    students, could have made some if not most of them stress out about learning
    something new on top of having to take a high-stakes test. Digital reading is
    just as important as print reading in my estimation and both are beneficial to
    students when used correctly and in the right instance, however, their learning
    and individual needs should always be a teacher’s focus.

  • Alex G.

    I agree with Mark Pennington’s assessment of how print
    and digital text are both essential in the classroom. I grew up learning through print text. I understand there are advantages to learning
    through both forms of reading. I believe
    it is important for students to learn and understand the various strategies of
    reading digitally and in print. As a
    future educator, I understand the emphasis of learning how to read
    digitally. With the advancement of
    technology, this is necessary in today’s classrooms. Technology has made reading fun and
    interactive. Students are already
    immersed in digital media. Digital
    reading would form and solidify a connection to students. Reading digitally can provide animation,
    audio, and video. These various forms
    can help readers at different levels of comprehension. The accessibility of digital media has
    increased in schools. This can help
    ensure that all students from various backgrounds and reading levels will have
    viable and equitable learning opportunities through digital media/reading.

  • Julie C

    As, a college student, I
    agree that I’m far more comfortable using print text versus digital,
    but I admit that this preference stems from simply what I have more experience
    using. As we move into this new and digital era, students must become well
    versed in this technology, meaning, teachers must also be versed and trained in
    this technology. As a future teacher, I
    am wary of “teaching how I was taught” and hampering the technological growth
    of my students. As Pennington theorized, there is room for both digital and
    print text in the classroom, but I wonder where we cross the line?

  • Jessica Steele

    I agree with Mark Pennington that
    there will always be room for both print and digital text in a classroom. Every student has a different learning style,
    and it is our job, as educators, to meet the needs of all students in our
    classroom. For some students, they may benefit
    from reading text out of a traditional book, while others may excel at reading
    digital text. It is important for us to
    help students discover which methods work best for them, so that they can
    develop strategies to use when they are outside of our classrooms and reading
    on their own, either for work or enjoyment.
    In order to help students be successful, teachers need to model
    strategies for both print and digital text.
    They need to show students that things, such as annotations, are made
    differently when reading a digital text than a print text, and that strategies
    can even vary across devices. As long as
    teachers model the appropriate use of both print and digital text, I believe
    that they can both be beneficial for students in our diverse and constantly
    changing world.

  • Caleb D

    I think that digital books have come a long way over a short period of time. Students today have been placed in a world of technology that is always changing. I can see the pros and cons to both sides of the discussion. I have found that with print books that it is easier to find the information that I am looking to remember. The use of writing my notes helps to reinforce the information. The e-books have the benefit of storage, interactivity, and hands on annotations. In my classroom, as Pennington stated, their is room for both types of books. As a future teacher, it is my responsibility to know when, how, where to use them.

  • Whitney A.

    While growing up in school I never had the option of using an e-book or Kindle but I think they have value as well as a printed book. I think it is a good opportunity for students to try e-books along with printed books and see which they would prefer. There will be all different types of learners in the classroom and they need those options. There should be an equal amount of time for printed books and e-books for the students. It is helpful to teach the students about how to use e-book features first before starting to read a book and doing activities with the story. For me personally I think it is helpful to highlight and being able to take notes on a Kindle. I like the audio features on the Kindle how a student could listen and follow along with the highlighted words with a story. This would be
    helpful for the ELL students. Those can be useful tools for students to learn and comprehend. I still think it is good to have printed books available in the classroom because they still have good use. Printed books are less likely distracting for students.

    • Tony S.

      I also never had the opportunity to use an e-book while I was in school so I don’t believe I can share a valid personal opinion on the
      matter. That being said, I have tried to understand the value of using e-books in school and if they actually help students learn and retain information. Just like the article says, I think they both have their advantages and disadvantages. And like you mentioned, there are many different types of learners so teachers and administrators need to be aware of a variety of teaching tools. In order to actually reach the needs of all students I think it is necessary to give them an option and let them choose between the two sources. No matter what a student’s preference is, we should be sure that they are getting the most out of their reading experiences and truly able to become engaged in their reading materials.

  • Jordan D.

    I definitely agree that students in today’s society will be more engaged with reading when it is presented digitally. As a student who grew up with a love for print text it’s hard for me to get into digital text. But, as Mark Pennington put it, students are already used to reading on their computers with the popularity of social media, it makes sense to have the read for school on tablets or laptops as well. I do wonder though, if this will make print text become a thing of the past. What if there are students that prefer to read print text rather than digital? Today, we think that digital text will fix the problem of students who dislike print text or struggle with it. But, are there students out there that would rather read print text and are being forced to read digitally? I think by teaching students both platforms and utilizing them both in the classroom, you’re giving students a more well-rounded picture and it allows them to choose how they best like to read, which just as digital text does to students who dislike print text, will encourage and motivate students to read more than just what is required of them.

  • Trent Hoefler

    I would have to agree with Pennington about combining both
    print and digital text in the classroom. For me, I prefer print text over
    digital, but for some people they prefer it the other way around. This could also
    happen in the classroom which is why it is good to have both for the students
    to use. I think incorporating both forms of text in the classroom, we create a more
    diverse learning environment. The students are more open to choice of how they
    want to read rather than just the option of print text.

    As a future educator, I think it is important that I learn
    how to use different electronic devices such as a Kindle or an iPad. In the
    past year and a half, I have been able to work with both an iPad and a Kindle
    to see how to incorporate them into the classroom. There are many different
    uses for an iPad or a Kindle in the classroom, such as educational games or
    reading texts and taking notes. I think since we have these electronic devices,
    why not put them to use. I am looking forward to using iPads and Kindles in my
    future classroom.

  • Errin G

    After reading this article, I feel that text reading is a lot more simpler than digital. I can read whatever I am looking at and if I need to stop at a certain spot I can. I am also able to touch the book and follow. In this article, Mark Pennington’s students use technology a lot. It seems they have gotten used to the idea of learning everything in the form of technology including being digital readers. Just because he is observing this in his classroom though, does not mean there are not any students that may be struggling. With these digital readers, a student is able to do things like highlight a part of a book, define a word they may not know, make notes at any point in time while reading. On the other hand though, having digital readers can be distracting, students may not be able to focus. They may be tempted to do things that do not involve schoolwork. These kinds of things can cause problems when it comes to students learning. Overall, while I do not think students can fully “go deep” with digital reading. At this point, I do not think they have a choice, this is something they are going to eventually have to do.

  • Christine

    Overall, I thought that this was an excellent read! It’s
    always relieving to read an article that isn’t for or against a particular
    topic. I feel since most of our generation (age 20’s and higher) had to deal
    with print text much more than digital. I completely agree with the idea that not
    being able to write up the text book is frustrating. I loved the idea of adding
    sticky notes to the book for easy reminders. That is the bonus with digital
    print however, now the student has the ability and opportunity to make notes,
    and highlight what they want in their books. Creating an easier method for
    studying. I do agree that it is possible that the digital reading may distract
    some students, which could be consequential in the comprehension of material. I
    liked the article, and would probably find a way to use it in my classroom.

  • Jill K.

    It is important for teachers to be technologically literate and mindful of changes with technology. Students are continually being introduced to technology in their classrooms around the nation. As a college student, I was introduced to online homework and readings. It was difficult for me to switch over to using technology 24/7 because I typically don’t like spending my time in front of a lit up screen. As for Mark Pennington, when he said he did not teach his students how to use the annotated features because did not think it was worth the time to take explaining, I do not agree with this strategy. Students nowadays are way more educated with electronic devices than many adults. If he would have given the students a chance to use the features that were available on the device, it could have improved their test scores as well as their learning experience.

  • Jessica M.

    I really like that Mark said there will always
    be a need for print and digital text in the classroom. It is the balance that
    is hard to find. I also agree with Mark when he says that the students can be
    more engaged with reading when they use devices, but my personal choice would
    be to use print if I could. I grew up using print and trying to adapt to all of
    the new technology is a little tiresome for someone like myself. That is not to
    say I am not open to trying things out and exploring new options, especially if
    it fits the needs of my students. There are certain things that a device can do
    for a student that print simply cannot. I think if those things are used to the
    best of their ability you will get the most out of them and your students will
    thrive. If they are not used properly, however distraction blurs the
    effectiveness of a device. Again, I think it is a balance act on how to
    incorporate both print and digital devices, but I hope I can know my students
    well enough to see their needs and form that balance.

  • Pingback: My Worst Fears About Our Digital Society… Should I Really Worry? | communicationchaos()

  • Jon

    I find this article to be a bit discouraging. I think students actually go deeper when using digital tools. Try the site You can embed questions, ideas, and media. You can also monitor progress and answer questions while they read. Even better, students can respond to each other’s inquiries and construct knowledge together. Pretty difficult to do this with print media. Furthermore, it really allows kids to work at their own pace. Differentiation through content can be achieved through sites like that offer the same reading with different lexiles.

  • Hannah S.

    I have to admit, before
    this last year I would have probably agreed with Mr. Pennington and his
    statement about not teaching students to use digital technology because it
    would be too tricky. For me, not necessarily for Mr. Pennington, this would
    have been because of my caution and apprehensiveness about using this new technology
    in my classroom. However, throughout this last year I have had the opportunity
    to work with both an iPad and Kindle and have found these devices aren’t as
    scary as they seem. I was able to learn the ins and outs of each device quickly
    and I know if I can figure them out students definitely will. While using these
    devices, I have experienced the capabilities they have to help struggling readers
    and to make reading more interesting and engaging for students. Even though I
    think digital readers definitely have a place in the classroom and have many
    benefits, I strongly support the last statement of the article. Print text
    should always have a purpose and place in school, but digital readers should as well.

  • Jessica Z

    When I think of digital reading, I think of reading on a
    kindle. It hardly ever crosses my mind that things such as social media sites
    or texting are also forms of digital reading. In reality, a majority of us are
    doing it everyday without even realizing it!

    This year is the first time that I have interacted with a
    Kindle to use for digital reading. While it has taken me a bit to get used to,
    I have enjoyed learning about the ways that I could use this type of technology
    in my classroom. I was skeptical at first about using a Kindle simply because
    it was unfamiliar, but I’m learning everyday more and more features that make
    this device pretty remarkable.

    I liked how the article talked about how digital reading
    devices and features could possibly be a distraction for some students. I can
    see how this could be an issue that hinders the comprehension process. This is
    why we must teach and model strategies for note taking and reading digital
    texts. I myself will always prefer print text, but am beginning to see the many
    benefits and features that digital reading has to offer.

  • J. Smith

    While I agree that there can be appropriate times for both print
    and digital texts, I really felt that Mark Pennington was biased towards print
    texts and not entirely open to digital text. While I, too, love print text, I
    also am finding that there is a lot that can be done with digital text. Technology
    has come a long way, and I believe that we need to give our students the tools
    for success to efficiently use those tools that technology makes available to
    us, just as we do with printed text.

    For example, the Kindle Fire can read to students, and students can very easily
    highlight and take notes in it. There are many other benefits of digital print
    as well, such as changing the size of the text, the brightness, the colors of
    the background, all to tailor the book to the needs of the reader. Altogether,
    I think it is important that we, as teachers, remain unbiased and stay open to
    new technology and use it to our benefit as well as for the benefit of our

  • Madeline G.

    I can see both sides to this article entirely. I grew up reading the actual textbooks and though I dreaded the thick books, I loved sitting down, reading and discovering while I took notes on the side with a pencil and paper. However, it wasn’t until the past year where I have been introduced to using iPads and Kindles and I have had an eye opening experience. If one is trained properly on how to use the devices and you learn the ins and outs of it’s capabilities, reading and note taking from a tablet can become just as effective. Though I feel Mark Pennington favored the traditional way of reading, I think it is crucial that one does not take over the other, textbooks and eBooks should be used an equal amount in the classroom.

  • Courtney F.

    To be completely honest, I have never really been a fan of
    digital reading. I am one of those students who prefer to have something
    tactile that I can mark on and add my own touch to. For example, while note
    taking, I like to use different colors, make headings, draw pictures, and
    direct exactly where I want to my notes to go on the page. However, digitally,
    this is not possible.

    I also think a lot of students’ preferences on which reading
    style they like has to do with what they are use to. This point was not really
    mentioned in the article. Students who grow up reading on digital devices will
    probably enjoy this type of reading, because they are use to taking notes and
    highlighting the text. However, I agree that students should use both digital
    reading and printed text in the classroom. In the real world, they will have to
    have skills to be able to do both as some information is in printed text and
    some is on digital. I also agree that teaching strategies for both types of
    text is crucial for students’ success in reading.

  • Taylor D.

    Mark Pennington’s view on the argument between e-readers and
    print books is very similar to my perspective. This article outlined the pros
    and cons of e-readers vs print books that I have been weighing in my mind the
    last few weeks. For as long as I can remember, schools have always provided the
    typical print books, textbooks, tests, etc. To me, print books have always been
    fine because I feel I am a good reader and can easily comprehend most texts
    without having to annotate too much. However, when I think of my classmates
    over the years that were struggling readers but were not allowed to make notes
    within the print text, I begin to think that exposing students to e-readers
    more and more would truly benefit more students than not. With that being said,
    I do believe both print and e-readers should be provided for students. It is
    important that students have a relationship with actual print books in order to
    understand basic print concepts as well as cherish the value and history they
    possess. I truly believe there is a time and place for both.

  • Alyssa B.

    I identified with Mark Pennington’s weariness to adapt
    e-readers into his classroom. The idea of moving from print novels toward
    digital text can be an overwhelming thought. However, Pennington spoke of his
    duty as a teacher to help students stay digitally engaged. The reality is that today’s
    students are learning in a technological world. While digital incorporations
    may take some adjustments, they offer many benefits that print text does not.
    The article mentioned that in order to reap these benefits and truly embrace
    all that e-readers have to offer, practice and training is required. Some
    students will adjust to this reading style better than others, but persistence
    and encouragement will be a key from teachers in order to reach the benefits of

  • Lisa J.

    I agree and disagree with this article. If I would’ve read this last year I would’ve
    agreed that digital reading is more tricky but after working in a 6th
    grade classroom that used both digital and print books, I think digital books
    are becoming the future of classrooms and what students will engage in. A
    combination of both in my opinion is the best solution but students these days
    are embracing and using technology more than ever and incorporating that into their
    lessons will benefit them in the long run. I can see that Mark favored regular
    books a bit more in the classroom I think incorporating both is the best way
    for students to feel able to tackle either.

  • Katie H.

    I can see both sides to this article. While I personally
    love to interact with actual books, e-books can be so beneficial for those
    students that need extra assistance when it comes to reading. Note taking are
    important skills that students need to learn. It’s our job as teachers to teach
    a variety of ways to take notes. Yes, they need to learn how to jot down and
    note and stick it in a text book, but they also need to know how to make a note
    as they read and respond to a digital book. Every student learns differently
    and as teachers it’s our job to help them figure out what is the best way for
    them. Technology is continuing to grow whether we decide as teachers to grow
    with it or not. The students we teach live in a digital world and we can use
    that to our advantage by implementing it in our classrooms.

  • Emilie T.

    Pennington shares a great point that students already have
    the background knowledge to be able to read through technology. It shows that
    he is aware of his students and their background and has accommodated his
    instruction to keep up with their habits. However, being “active readers,”
    which he explains makes good readers has downfalls when it comes to digital
    reading. The article explains it perfectly when it says that it’s still so new,
    thus taking longer to acquire skills to become a good digital reader. This
    struggle comes with the ineffectiveness of annotating the text. I have the same
    struggle with making notes on technology. It is just too difficult to place a
    note and type on technology, that me, like most people, prefer not to do it. I
    can see the benefits of digital reading, but the benefits don’t add up if it’s
    inconvenient for students to annotate the text.

  • Emilee S.

    This article provokes me with mixed opinions. I do agree there is something to be said for students’ ability to be able to read deeper into text by taking notes. I agree that this is a successful strategy for comprehension and that students have the right to practice it. However, why does it have to be on an electronic device? At this point, it seems as though it is creating more harm then help with all of the distractions and complexity of what it takes to efficiently take the notes that allow the students to read more deeply into text. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the use of integrating technology to enhance education, in fact, I think it plays a critical role in paticular to those in special education. However, students are having success with a pencil and paper, why are we looking for a solution when we do not have a problem? Students can still “dirty a textbook” and be colorful while doing it, with sticky notes!

  • Peony Reif

    There is so much truth to this article and I would have to
    say I agree with it! Students need to be engaged when reading no mater what
    medium it is. There are advantages and disadvantages to both eBook reading and
    print reading. I feel as though younger
    students will love the more interactive features of the e-book to help keep
    them engaged. However, I see how it is just a little be easier for older
    students to have the hard copy of a print to take their notes. However, like
    the article discussed if properly trained these kinds of people can have the
    same advantages with eBooks. The biggest take away thought is finding a way to
    make kids interested in way they are reading so they can connect to the reading
    and this will help them become better readers whether they are reading digitally
    or from an old fashion book.

  • Tayla G.

    I thought this article made a lot of really good
    arguments about kids reading print media and digital media. I personally don’t
    agree that Pennington didn’t take the time to show his students how to you the
    annotations feature on the Chromebook because kids can surprise us everyday and
    the students might have really surprised him with how well they caught onto the
    software feature. I at least feel that he should have given the students the option
    to use the annotations feature if they wanted to. I think that there are a lot
    of pros and cons when it comes to deciding what is best for students. I think
    the student also has to figure out what works best for them. We need to make
    adjustments based on the needs of the students and what will help them become
    successful. That might mean half the class is reading digitally and half the class
    is reading in print but it’s also important to teach them skills and strategies
    to be successful using both types of texts.

  • Guin Toalson

    The one aspect I think Henderson missed out on is the affordability of using e-readers. I personally have been using an e-reader for three years now and I can buy more than just novels. I can rent textbooks for a significantly cheaper price on an e-reader than I would be able to get it at my college’s bookstore or from an online vendor. Novels are also much cheaper and make my literature classes much more affordable. If schools can make a one-time investment in a one-to-one program with Kindles or iPads, they could end up saving a hugely significant amount of money in the long run.

    As for reading on the e-readers, there are ways to make that and annotating them easier. Students can customize their reading experience by playing with the font and the colors of the page. This makes it easier and more comfortable for them to read. There are certain e-reader apps that make annotations easier to write and to find later on. Students wouldn’t have to flip back and forth through pages of text to find one quote, they could simply search a word or phrase and be brought directly to it. My experience with e-readers has made me a tech junkie in the classroom.

  • Kirby Y

    At the beginning of the article Pennington notes, “The trick to being a good reader, no matter the medium, is being an engaged reader.” This is something that is so important that we, as educators,must remember. I also agree that it is important to familiarize students with both digital text and printed text. One question I had though, was how do you keep the balance and decide when to use what type of text in the classroom? I also think that if we choose to use digital texts we need to take time to show students all of the features available to them, even if we don’t think the features are helpful.

  • Maggie S

    Before college, I was one of those students who never really
    liked to read on any type of technology.
    I would much rather take out a pencil and some sticky notes and take
    notes from an actual textbook, then read on any sort of device. But, as a future teacher, I realize that
    there will be students with different abilities and wants/needs in my
    classroom. I think this article does a
    really good job of showing us both sides of the debate. I will be the first to admit that I had no
    idea how to highlight, take notes, or do anything else on a Kindle before my
    teacher showed me. But once I learned,
    it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and I actually found it to
    be somewhat convenient. I feel that the
    best way to get students engaged is to allow them to use what works best for
    them. This is just another way that
    teachers need to get to know their students.

  • Rachel Londeen

    This article brings up many ideas for teachers to think
    about when reading and annotating in the classroom. When I was a student in middle and high
    school we did not have the availability to technology that many students do
    today, so any annotations we made were always in the books or on sticky notes.
    I liked this because it was quick and easy to write notes in the margins as you
    read and was not as tedious as highlighting and adding notes as on an e-reader.
    However, we as teachers have to remember that what we find easier or quicker
    may not be true of our students. Many students today, especially at the
    elementary level, have been exposed to technology sources much more than we
    were as young students and therefore have a greater knowledge of these
    technologies and are more apt to using all the aspects of these technologies.
    Most classrooms today have many sources of e-reading materials available, and
    students know how to use them and adjust them to make reading and annotating a
    more enjoyable experience for them. This shift, from pencil and paper to
    tablets and e-readers, will be vital for us as teachers to help integrate and
    transition in our classrooms to create a new generation of readers that will be
    more productive and more involved with their own reading and reflecting

  • Lauren Kenyon

    Mark Pennington makes a
    great point when he says, “There will always be room for both print and digital
    reading in school”. I think that digital media has a lot of advantages but I
    also believe that it is beneficial for students to be able to annotate in books
    and e-readers. As future teachers we have to understand that our students live
    in the most technically advanced age yet, they are familiar with devices such
    as e-readers. This being said I believe that it is important to incorporate the
    different reading styles into our classroom. Some students might benefit from
    digital readers more than others and teachers should be flexible in order to benefit
    the student. I believe that there are so many beneficial tools on digital
    readers but if the students aren’t engaged in the material it all goes to

  • Alyssa S

    I agree with this article as much as I disagree. I think that digital texts and the use of e-readers can be difficult for teachers to teach, but I also recognize that it is important to teach it to students regardless of personal feelings. I dislike how he decided not to teach students how to annotate on their digital texts, when that could be a useful tool for his students during testing. But I do agree with other comments on how each classroom and students are different, but it is up to the teacher to help make their teaching effective and he still should have tried. Technology is important in the future of classrooms, so we must be aware of the different types and adapt it to our classrooms with our students.

  • Megan G

    While reading this article, I find myself with mixed feelings. Personally, I have never enjoyed digital reading. I have always loved having the actual material in my hand. Whenever we read an article online for class, I would often print out the article instead of reading it on an electronic device. I do this to make more organized annotations like the article says majority of students do. However, I understand why it is so important for our students to learn how to read and be engaged through e-books. As they grow, technology will continue to improve and they will be reading more and more on digital devices throughout their education. In order to be successful, they will have to practice doing this often and become engaged while reading both e-books and printed text.

  • Sarah Z.

    I strongly agree with Mark Pennington that there should
    always be a place for both print and digital text in a classroom. Students need to understand how to navigate
    and comprehend digital text because they will have a great exposure to digital
    writing throughout their lifetime.
    However, I do believe that print text is of extreme importance. I am like the 57 percent of students who
    prefer print to digital, and I believe it’s fine to have a preference when it
    comes to reading, but I do think that no matter a student’s preference it is critical
    to have strategies when reading both types of text. I personally believe that there are times
    when digital reading can be great for students, but I also believe that all
    kids should experience having a physical book in their hands as well. As a future educator, my goal is to have
    students be able to have strategies and be able to comprehend any type of

  • A. Brown

    I definitely agree with Mark Pennington in his claim that
    there should be a good balance between using digital readers and paper text. As
    technology becomes more advanced, I feel the digital readers become more
    beneficial. A few semesters ago, I downloaded the online textbook for one of my
    classes because it is lighter to just carry around an iPad- a huge perk with
    e-books. However, since it was not an e-book and just an online textbook, I had
    to have perfect Wi-Fi connection or it took me 30 seconds to turn only one
    page. Since many books are becoming e-books, I have had less of a problem with
    digital text. However, I do prefer printed textbooks at times and I think each student
    needs to be exposed to both so they can choose a preference themselves.

  • Bridget Winter

    As a college student I understand the reasoning behind shifting from print text to digital text. Digital text is paperless and often times cheaper. Having said that, I tend to print off articles I am assigned to read because of the opportunity I have to physically highlight and take notes on the article. I have discovered that I comprehend information better if I physically highlight and take notes while reading than if I were to on digital text. Pennington says, “It’s pretty clear that good readers are active readers engaged with the text” (Korbey). When I read digital text I am often distracted by the advertisements on the sides of the reading. There are times when I can be engaged with digital text. For example, while reading an e-book on an iPad or Kindle I can stay focused because that is the only screen opened on the device. The challenge of digital text is the engagement. I understand how vital it is that teachers take time to use both types of text in a classroom, but teachers must also take time to teach strategies for both texts so that children can excel in reading comprehension.

  • Eli S.

    Although I agree with Mark Pennington that there is “room for both print and digital reading in school”, I believe that print reading should be relied on when developing students’ ability to comprehend texts. Like the text points out, reading on a digital device can be a distraction to the student that limits their ability to analyze what they are reading. Reading comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading so it is important that, as teachers, we put students in the best position to learn. There are some advantages of using digital reader in language arts instruction but strictly speaking on developing reading comprehension I believe using printed text gives students an advantage.

  • Abby D

    As I was reading this article, I had a lot of mixed feelings
    about it. I think there are truly a lot of perks to online reading and most of
    today’s students are used to it and know how it works. Since that was not how
    today’s new teachers were taught, it is hard for us to see how that could be
    beneficial. I think that because this study yielded so many different results,
    it is very important that teachers integrate all different types of reading in
    their classroom. This way, students will be able to to learn how they best
    learn and succeed in everything they can; the learning environment is very

  • Taylor S

    After reading this blog post, it made me realize
    how much I really do enjoy reading from an e-book. Almost all the arguments
    made throughout the article about how students should be reading from
    traditional texts triggered something within me to generate a rebuttal. Towards
    the beginning of the post when Pennington makes the comment about students
    barely being able to chew their gum and walk at the same time made me angry. Just
    because a teacher does not feel comfortable with technology does not mean that
    the opportunities for students should be taken away. Over the past 3 weeks is
    the first time I have ever worked with a Kindle product and I am discovering
    that I love it! Being able to highlight, take notes, and look up the definition
    of words by simply tapping my fingers to the screen makes reading much more
    enjoyable. In the end I think that students should be able to choose how they
    want to read – through a traditional printed book or an e-book. After all,
    people become teachers to help STUDENTS find success, not to choose what is
    best for them.

  • Bryn Kruse

    I really appreciate Mark Pennington’s suggestion that there will always be room for both e-books and paper print in classrooms. I think more people need to recognize the possibility of encompassing both in a classroom, because I think it would convert a lot of skeptics into believers. Personally, I love the feel of an old paper book in my hands, but I also am an owner of an iPad, Nook and a Kindle, and I use all mediums to read. My preference changes with my mood. I do agree that sometimes it is beneficial to be able to write straight on the text, but with practice, I have become more comfortable with annotating on my e-readers. I really appreciate how easy the iPad (and the kindle and nook apps on the iPad) make annotating. When I try to annotate on my Kindle and Nook, it takes me so much longer because the typing is harder, and by the time I’ve finished my annotation, I forget where I am in the text. I, myself, as well as my future students, could really benefit from more annotation practice. Just like Mark suggests, I think this practice could really enhance e-reader use in the classroom.

  • Lucy B

    I think advancements in technology can sometimes be overwhelming for a person, especially if they do not feel comfortable with how new it is to them. For this reason, I understand why Pennington refrained from showing his students the test’s annotation features, but I do not agree with it. In my own personal experience of taking digitized assessments, I love being able to highlight important passages and to take notes because it allows me to easily go back to what I was reading when I need assistance in answering questions. I also believe that e-books are a new reality in schools and I do not think this is a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love cuddling up with a good old fashioned hardback book, but e-books provide features for students and teachers regular books simply do not. For example, students can take notes in the books whereas in textbooks it is frowned upon. Also, there are “read to me” options which can be very helpful for some students. I agree with Mark in the fact that there will always be room for digital and print reading in schools, I just think both options should be available.

  • Kasey Criser

    Personally, I am very torn between reading from both texts
    and devices. Thinking back to when we started using more technology for things
    such as tests and reading material, I had a very difficult time comprehending
    what I was reading. Already having comprehension problems, this was much more
    challenging for me to stay focused on the text itself and not other things on
    the computer. In this case, I feel we need to allow students to read more out
    of textbook type materials and use paper and pencil tests. However, this
    article brings up an interesting point about note taking. Students who love
    taking notes or making marks while they read can not be done in textbooks today
    because we are told they cannot be written in. Thinking from this perspective,
    I see the glory in having electronic devices where students are allowed to do
    that. It could also be a way for teachers to assess what the read rather than
    hoping they read the correct material from the textbook. I can see now that
    there are advantages and disadvantages to using both devices and hard copy
    reading materials.

  • Claire O

    This article brings to surface a lot of the pros and cons of
    using both e-readers and print reading.
    Studies can show us a lot, but ultimately, I think it depends on the
    individual student as to which way type of reading device is better (e-reader
    or print copy). It is necessary for students to be able to
    use both effectively, but I also think it is ok for students to use what
    engages them best. I have worked with
    students who find it more beneficial to read and annotate print copies because
    they like being able to write on a physical copy. I have also worked with students who enjoy
    using e-reader devices and who enjoy using the note taking tools. Both students are equally as engaged and are
    able to take notes and jot down ideas about what they are reading. They just have different preferences on what
    engages them best.

  • Julia N

    I really enjoyed reading this article and seeing the different perspectives on e-books. I was very taken back on Mark Pennington’s comment about how he didn’t teach his students how to use the e-book’s annotation feature because it would be too complicated for them to learn. In my opinion, that is the reason you go to school and learn. Students need to be challenged and pushed on a daily basis and teaching them how to use annotation features on the e-books would do just that. Kids also have a better understanding of technology than most adults so they
    would probably find it very easy to maneuver around and would enjoy it. I wish Mark would have taken the time to teach his students about the features so they would have gotten more out of the text and been able to comprehend it better. I think e-books are great for all kinds of learners and can be modified to fit each student’s specific needs. They are fun, engaging and create a new twist on reading that can accommodate all types of learners.

  • Jessica W

    While reading this article, I kept going back to the thought
    that educators were underestimating the capability of their students. I was
    shocked to read that Mark Pennington did not teach his students how to annotate
    digitally for the Smarter Balanced Assessment for English Language Arts because
    he feared that it would be too difficult for his students. As educators, it is
    our responsibility to provide students with tools to help them succeed.
    Teaching the students how to use this tool may have taken extra time may have
    been inconvenient, but was necessary for student success. As adults, with less
    experience with technology, it may be more difficult for us to transition from
    print text to digital text but often younger students feel more comfortable
    using technology. I do not believe that educators should prevent the use of
    digital text because they are uncomfortable with it or believe that it would
    require too much time to teach students how to properly use it.

  • Bridget Winter

    After reading this article there were a lot of points and
    research that I agreed with and found to be very important. I think that there
    is one word that is crucial to the success of children’s reading comprehension
    and that is, engagement. As a college student I struggle with being engaged one
    hundred percent of the time while reading digital text. Of course it depends on
    what I am reading but if it is an article online the side advertisements
    distract me. In this case I always print off the article and physically
    highlight and take notes in the margins. As a future educator I understand the
    importance of teaching students the proper techniques and strategies that
    should be used in relation to the type of text they read. I am excited to
    explore the texts my students relate to best and the text that they can
    comprehend successfully.

  • Stephanie B.

    I’ve always had a biased opinion on the e-book versus real
    book debate. I don’t know what it is about e-books, but I’ve never enjoyed reading
    on them. I would rather have the actual book in front of me. I even print off
    articles in order to read them. I like being able to easily take notes on the
    paper, or if I’m reading a textbook, I take notes in a notebook. I’m currently experiencing
    huge difficulties trying to learn how to use the features offered while reading
    an e-book.

    However, I do understand that for students to be able to
    effectively read e-books, they will need to be taught new reading skills, as
    well as how to utilize the tools that you can use on an e-reader. In order for
    students to successfully learn how to use e-books, it is important for
    educators to teach students how to use them. In today’s society, technology
    plays a huge role in education. Therefore, if teachers are unfamiliar or
    uncomfortable when using this form of technology, it is important that they
    familiarize themselves with the features of e-books in order to ensure that
    they can teach their students how to do so.

  • Kortney E

    Mark Pennington made a great point that there will be room
    for both print and digital reading in the schools. This means that we need to
    teach both methods to our students in order to truly prepare them for real
    world experiences. I have never explored eBooks until recently and I have to
    say I am impressed at how much I like the annotation feature. It took a few
    tries to understand how to make notes in the correct location but it has gotten
    me excited to use eBooks with my future students. Although it is nice to hold
    books and scribble on paper, I find it more effective to makes notes on a
    digital book. As a reader, the annotation feature kinesthetically connects you
    to the writing even more than a paper book does. However, not every student
    will feel this way and it is up to the teacher to realize which method works
    best for their students. We live in a very innovative world with all of the
    technology advancements being made so we need to prepare our students for the
    future of digital communication.

  • Molly G.

    This article really made me think about the presence of digital reading and print reading in my life today and how it relates to growing students. By being a senior in college at this point in time, I have seen the transition begin from digital vs. print. My freshman year I had all textbooks. It was my sophomore year that I had my first ever e-book version of a textbook. Whoever would have thought this would be possible? Our world in technology is changing. Therefore, teachers must stay in tune with the culture around them and their students. I liked how the article states, “giving students the ‘ability to talk to the text, to create an internal dialogue with the text” is the best way to help students understand what they’re reading.” At the end of the day, this is truly what matters. We want students to be successful readers. All students learn differently, so it will not be out
    of the ordinary for students to prefer one way or the other. But if students are well trained to read both ways, it will only benefit them more in their future education and even future careers. Everyday tasks, duties, projects, and jobs that will be to present in students’ lives will call for both types of text.

  • M. McCoy

    Being able to physically hold a book is my biggest gain
    when reading a book. I like being able to flip through the pages and sort
    through what I just read. E-Books have the same features but the sense of
    holding and knowing you are making progress through a book is just a number on
    the bottom of the screen. There are obviously pro’s and con’s to E-books and
    hard copies but it depends on the individual reading the book. Yes, tablets
    would make great alternatives for textbooks because students could start to
    learn them in a younger grade and carry them with them up until they transition
    onto middle school, but that is expensive. I think that way, they could gain
    the skills of learning how to annotate text they are actually reading instead
    of skimming over right before class. It depends on the district, community and
    environment the students come from to decide what is the best fit for them.

  • Becky Brady

    This article brings up some very interesting details that I
    have not spent much time thinking about. After reading, and re-reading the
    article, I am torn as to which side I support more. After really thinking about
    the advantages and disadvantages of both sides, print text and digital reading,
    I feel as if both are absolutely crucial for students to effectively learn and
    comprehend. As Mark Pennington mentions, some aspects of digital text are
    frustrating at times yet they can also very beneficial. I know I still have
    much to learn about teaching reading and literacy, but I feel as if I will
    integrate both digital text and print text (that is able to be marked up and
    interactive) in my classroom. All students learn in different ways and by
    incorporating all possible forms of reading it provides more opportunity for
    learning, fluency improvement, and comprehension.

  • Sarah Nyhart

    I always have thought that having print is always better
    than digital readers. I always enjoy having something actually in my hands that
    I can put notes in or flip through the pages easily; so I agree with most of
    the beginning of this article. But I have noticed, though being more exposed to
    digital readers, that there are benefits to digital text. You can actually take
    notes in textbooks when they’re digital and can help with comprehension if the
    students are annotating while they read. I really liked how this article went
    over both some positives and negatives of digital print. It makes you think
    more about both sides and think more balanced about digital reading.

  • Jillian K

    I definitely agree with Mark’s belief that “there will always be room for both print and digital reading in school.” There is a time and place where both can be utilized efficiently allowing students to maximize their learning. I also believe one major way students will be engaged in educational reading is through annotation and notes. Technology, especially in younger generations, is becoming ever more prominent. According to an article on The Washington Post (, “teens are spending more than one-third of their days using media”. That is nearly nine hours a day on average. It is important to inform and teach students how to navigate and read print text, but with the increase use of technology, using e-books in the classroom will benefit students. Since this article was written, the technology on annotating within an online text may have advanced slightly. I am currently reading an e-book on a Kindle Fire and have found it both extremely beneficial and not difficult to navigate. I believe the tools provided with e-books can help struggling readers become more confident in their reading abilities. Not only can the students highlight, take notes, and ask questions. There are additional tools such as, a dictionary, text-to-speech, ability to change font size and margins, and several more. While print text should still be incorporated into the classroom, I think society is continually expanding and moving toward being technology sufficient. This being said, as teachers it is our responsibility to teach our students how to effectively utilize technology in an educational way.

  • Hunter S.

    I agree with what Mark Pennington said in conclusion to the article, that there is room for both forms of text in the classroom. Personally, I feel like taking notes on e-readers can be rather cumbersome. You have to stop, find the area, select the note, and place the note, than continue. With print-texts, it’s as simple as writing down your thought then continuing. However, I do feel as though e-readers should continue to be used in the classrooms. They allow teachers to have a much larger library without physically having the books and they offer a lot to the students who are using them. Not only that, but with such a push to digitize everything in sight, students will be faced with more and more digital texts, so they need the practice. Teachers should try to find a healthy balance between print texts and e-readers. Then students will get the knowledge of print they need, but will also get the exposure to e-readers. With as often as we see them today, I can only imagine how prevalent they will be in 5+ years.

  • KK Brengle

    I agree with Mark Pennington, that there is room for both printed and digital reading in the schools. It makes sense that we incorporate both in our schools because our students are already exposed to so much digital media in society. If we do not incorporate that into our schools then our education, as a whole takes a step backwards. Our students and future citizens need to be able to navigate both printed and digital text with proficiency to be able to navigate our society. I believe that one of the issues here is that change is hard. I am currently back in college and some of my textbooks are digital. I am used to marking up the margins, highlighting and making notes in my book. However, with a digital platform I am unused doing this on a computer or tablet. It is just a matter of time before this becomes rote for me and I will be proficient in digital reading as I am in printed reading. Teachers are just going to have to learn different and new strategies to teach our students with this new platform. Progress can be painful, but it is still progress.

  • Taylor S.

    I disagree with Pennington’s approach to not teach his
    students how to use the annotate feature on the Chromebooks. Just because he
    thinks that it is too difficult does not mean it will be for technology
    proficient students. Kids are sometimes more fluent in technology than their
    adult counterparts and can often surprise us by what they can do. I think that
    digital reading devices allow students to have freedom to make as many notes or
    highlights as possible, without worry they will ‘dirty’ up the book. I think
    that e-books are a huge benefit to the classrooms, not just to engage already
    proficient readers but for struggling readers as well. There are many features
    that assist these students such as audio books, flexible font size, and a
    dictionary built into the device. I do agree that print should be used as well,
    and as teachers we should educate our students to read print in a variety of

  • Emelie R.

    I was surprised by two main points in this article. The first point being that Mark Pennington did not teach his students e-book or online note taking strategies for their assessment. If I knew my students were going to have an assessment with different tools, it would want them to know how to use them to help them be successful. I understand time was a concern in this situation, but you could easily have short mini lessons to introduce the tools.

    I was also surprised to find out that research shows that readers comprehend better when they read print text. It will be interesting to see how this research develops because comprehension of reading e-books is still in the early stages. Overall, I think there should be a good balance of reading both e-books and print text. As educators we need to understand and realize that we are living in a world where technology is growing. Therefore, we need to prepare ourselves and our students for the future of learning.

  • Catherine T.

    This article had some interesting information provided about the pros and cons of e-books in his classroom. I recently started using e-books and have been surprisingly impressed with their features. I am old fashioned and have a great love for my printed books. I enjoy standing in front of my book shelf and choosing a book to read for pleasure and smelling the pages as I flip through them. However, outside of this situation I think that using an e-book for note taking purposes in the schools has its advantages. I also think that students are very adaptable when it comes to technology and learning tools that they can use for note taking. The fact that the author did not instruct them on these features is disappointing because it may have been a very effective way to demonstrate their skills and increase their understanding of the content. I think finding a balance between using e-books and print materials is key. I know that I learn in many different ways and what works for me doesn’t necessarily work of others. This may also translate into the classroom with students needing a variety of tools to learn and grow from.

  • Ryan S

    This article brings up some valid points on both sides of the argument. There is very much a place and time for digital print in today’s society, especially in differentiated instruction. As a Special Ed teacher, the resources to help my kids succeed are nearly insurmountable. However, my biggest issue with digital print is in its accessibility. Yes, it is obscenely easy to utilize, but what happens when you run out of power? It sounds like somewhat of a childish argument, but consider the following. If you power runs out, and you have no place to charge, you have no media. Regular print requires no power, beyond a light to read by, making it always accessible.

  • Alexis Cunningham

    I think the most important thing to take away from this article is the idea that it’s not digital vs. print, but the fact that students will only be able to “go deep” when they are engaged in the text. We all know that every student is different and different kinds of texts can speak to certain students. Some students do better with physical print while some students are better off with a digital text that can offer more assistance. I think we as adults can become skeptical of digital readers in school because it’s not how we were taught. We need to be mindful that technology is only going to get bigger and better, and it is our jobs to prepare our students for all aspects of life.

  • Kelly J

    I have to agree with Mark Pennington and here is why I agree. I believe that in todays world that technology is taking over and it is starting with 2 year olds and beyond. There is room for both printed and digital reading in the classroom. I think it is a great idea to incorporate the digital aspect in the classroom. In the near future that is what will be a qualification for jobs in my opinion. I do however feel that we as future teachers should always introduce paper back books and have that as an option. Printed books should be used just as equally and never loose the face value of being in the classroom.

  • Kaitlyn S.

    I agree with Pennington that good readers are active readers who are engaged with the text. It’s important for students to enjoy what they are reading and that can either be on an e-book or from an actual book. However, I do not agree with Pennington when he says that it was too complicated to teach seventh graders how to highlight and take notes on their Chromebooks. Students are becoming more and more aware of technology and how to handle technology in the classroom. So when Pennington says it was too complicated to teach the students how to annotate, I find that a bit insulting to the students. Students should be given an option on whether they want to read/take notes on an e-book or from an actual book no matter what the research says. Some students will perform better with an e-book while other students may perform better with actual texts; it really depends on each individual student.

  • Krysten B.

    I definitely agree with Penningtion saying “there will always be room for both print and digital reading in schools.” It is important to know that digital reading is not meant to replace print text but instead offer another method for reading that may or may not be more effective for the reader. There were good pros and cons mentions about both kinds of text in this article. I think that both sides of the argument were easy to understand and it’s important to recognize that people will have different opinions about what they like. As a future educator I understand how important it is to teach students how to use digital readers when introducing them into the classroom. The first time I got a digital textbook for college I did not like it at all. Looking back now though I realize that the reason I didn’t like it was because I never knew how to use it. Students must be familiar with the features of digital books and know how to appropriately use them for the textbook to be effective.

  • Sara L

    This year I am a senior in college. I have been in school for the past seventeen years, and the change in technology from when I was in Kindergarten till now is unbelievable. I know that the world, and our classrooms will continue becoming more technologically advanced. As a teacher, I want to teach my students what is relevant for them today. I believe that both paperback books and e-books are very relevant to students today. Although I have to admit that I prefer learning and reading from paperback books, that doesn’t mean I should only use paperbacks in my classroom. I want to be able to give my students a choice. I want to educate them on how to effectively use both paperbacks, and e-books. I agree with Pennington that e-books are not meant to replace paperback books, and their will always be room for both. Both paperback and e-books have different pros and cons. I want my students to be aware of all the features of both and then be able to use which ever one that will make them most successful.

  • Kristen P

    I both agree and disagree with this article in many ways. First, I agree with Mr., Pennington in the conclusion of this article that there is room for both digital and print text because they both have their pro and cons. I personally like print text when using it for an academic setting or technical reading as it allows me to make notes easily and mark up the text. When I free read I do not mind using a digital device as I do not need to get specific information from it but can just enjoy reading it. I think digital texts are becoming the reality of this world as it is more accessible for students at their convenience. The only downfall is teachers will have to teach students how to use digital texts and how to use it appropriately such as ignoring the “bells and whistles” on the device. To be a proactive teacher I think you need to be able to understand how to use and implement digital text while putting your personal biases aside. This will greatly benefit students but it all goes back to knowing the students and how they learn best.

  • Bailey B.

    I agree with both sides of the e-book vs. print text materials discussion. With printed materials, I find that it is easier to make notes and flip back and forth throughout a studying process in a physical book however, I do not always enjoy buying sticky notes as well as trying to find the place when one falls off. On the other hand, e-books have been a great addition to reading materials, I honestly think that the different resources that come with an e-book allow the struggling readers to be more motivated to read. I personally do not enjoy reading so I found it helpful and beneficial to have the audible version of books when needed for class. Giving students both options in class (if possible) would be my choice, because I see clear benefits to each option of textbook and would love to be able to have both resources available for my students.

  • Elizabeth

    I strongly agree that there is room for both print and e-books in the classroom. For many students I understand why taking notes on a physical print version would be much easier but, as students are now growing up with e-books and using more and more technology, I feel that students would find taking notes in an e-book almost easier. The e-books also have many great functions such as the dictionary where students can discover a words meaning right there and audio versions where students can actually hear the words. This would be very beneficial to a struggling reader. I also truly think that it depends on the student. For some students having that physical book is what they need and for others an e-book is what can help them. Teachers are supposed to differentiate depending on the student and the e-book is a great tool to be able to do this. This is why I strongly think that both print and e-books should be implemented and available in the classroom.

  • Mikaela M.

    One quote from Mark Pennington that stood out to me the most, and not in a positive way was “He said for most of his students, it would have been tricky to “walk and chew gum at the same time” in regards to teaching about the annotation feature. I was so distracted by this statement that I could barely read on! Why would a teacher not expose students to every possible tool available to them, just because he felt his students would not be able to handle it? Does he not have high expectations for his students? As a teacher you find every way possible to differentiate your instruction in a way that meets the needs of all of your students. By eliminating the strategy or not even making it an option for students to use the annotation feature deprives a student of the potential benefits a strategy could have in order to enhance their learning environment. Although it did not spark interests or value in his eyes, that does not mean that it can’t work wonders for other students. That’s the great thing about differentiating instruction, and as educators we need to expose these possibilities to our students.

  • Morgan Cossette

    I agree that there is a time and a place for both print and e-books in the classroom. I don’t think that we need to choose just one method for our classroom, but to combine both. Students usually are more comfortable taking notes with how they were taught. For example, students my age (junior in college) might be more comfortable with pencil paper notes, because that is how we were taught and what we are used to. However, young students just going through school might be more comfortable using technology to take notes because that is how they were taught, and they use technology all the time. We have to be mindful that technology is becoming a big part of our world, and especially with education. Every student is different and no matter the age of the student they could prefer one-way to another. As educators we need to differentiate our instruction and help all of our students succeed. This is why I think both e-books and print text are important in the classroom.

    • Payton Scheer

      Morgan, I completely agree with your statements. Technology is continually growing and five year olds know how to use iPads these days. There are benefits to both types of books, e-books and printed but each student might have a different preference. With e-books it provided the option of hearing the words out loud and having the text being read to the student. With printed text, students are able to physically have the book in front of them being able to turn back and forth with it in their hands. But I also see being successful with e-books being able to take notes and highlighting. With the that being said, differentiated instruction is crucial more than ever in the classroom now and in the future.

  • Racheal H.

    I think it is important for students to learn how to read digitally. Learning how to use a digital reader is a little time consuming but also exciting because this is where our society is heading. If schools are providing students with these devises, then teachers need to take the time and show the students all the features.

    In my opinion, I like the annotation features on the digital readers because the highlighter and “sticky note” are right there for you. However, I like the ease of flipping the pages back and forth with a print copy.

    I agree with Mr. Pennington that there is room for both print and digital copies of text. In my opinion, if you are providing the student with the choice of print or digital, then you are differentiating your instruction as a teacher. As a teacher, you are providing students with another way to be successful.

  • Kaitlyn F

    Like a lot of previous comments, this article caused me to reflect over my experience with technology and digital texts. As I went through elementary school and high school my only experience reading digital text in school would be online articles and the state testing. I didn’t read my first eBook until just a couple of weeks ago! Surprisingly, I am really enjoying exploring this new world of digital books. I think my biggest take away is that if you are going to introduce this new technology into the classroom, you have to make sure that the all of the programs are up to date. Early versions of electronic reading were much like the author described, it was more work than it was worth. Now with the updated technology, I can purchase books at a much cheaper rate then hard copies, take as many notes as I please, carry the book anywhere on any of my devices, and have a dictionary right at my fingertips. There is great benefit to the idea of eBooks and as the technology continues to catch up with the idea, it will only get better.

  • Nicole M

    I agree with both sides of the argument. I think there are a lot of great features that come with eBooks, but I also think that having a physical book adds a lot to the experience of reading. Throughout the article many of the students he talked to about eBooks gave note taking as one of the reasons they preferred printed books. I disagree with them. I think eBooks are much better for taking notes because you can write right in the text and you can pull all of your notes up on one page so that you can easily go back to see the important things from your reading. There are some negatives to eBooks. For one, they have to be charged, which can be an inconvenience. Secondly it is not very easy to flip back and forth from various pages. While reading a print book I will sometimes flip back two or three pages to reread or compare two things. On an eBook that becomes a little more difficult. I think that eBooks are important for students to know how to use, but I think it should be up to the students preference on whether or not they want to use an eBook or printed text.

  • Cindy P.

    There are so many things that I found myself agreeing to in Mark Pennington’s article. One thing that I liked the most is when Mark was asked if students were engaged more in digital reading or in print. His answer was that “it depends- motivation and environment play a big role”. I would have to agree with mark because if students love the text, being engaged and noting in either digital media or print would be easy. Being able to take notes and simply “dirty up” what you are reading, it gives you a sense that the reader was deeply engaged in the text and understands what’s going on. Mark did a good job and pointing out the pros and cons of both digital reading and print; it is important for us teachers to find the best time and strategies for the students to use them during their reading. In my opinion both print and e-books are good for the classroom as long as students are comfortable and know how to use both media when reading.

  • Annie Ross

    Before I begin my response to this article, I will admit that I personally comprehend printed text over digital text. Flipping the pages and being able to follow the text with my fingers helps me focus on the words and their meaning. I find myself distracted by digital text and the other elements that technology can entail. Also, I feel as though I understand and know what I am taking notes on better when I write it out; therefore, I enjoy the print option to highlight, underline, draw arrows to brief notes, etc. This engages me in the text that I am reading. When I type notes, I become lost because I can type without looking, which takes away the focus of each word and what they mean. I am just worried about getting everything down. Therefore, I am truly partial to the traditional way of reading print text.

    However, this preference does not mean I disagree with this article; in fact, I found many parts argeeable. We need to teach our child how to properly read and analyze digital text in an engaging and relevant way. I say this because so many educators assign digital readings in their classroom, and this will not be changing anytime soon. We need to learn how to properly utilize these materials in our classroom. Recently, I have been using a Kindle in my Literacy Methods class, and I love it! You are able to highlight text, mark those passages with notes, look up definitions of words right in the text, and have it read to you while you follow along. The best part is when it does read to you, the words are highlighted to help you focus on what is being read to you. And, you can purchase narrators to read you the texts so it is spoken in an attractive tone. If digital text is displayed in this manner, I believe students will be properly engaged and enhanced by the readings they are exposed to digitally. I believe teachers have to bring these types of digital text programs in his or her classroom.

    • Nate Mitchell

      Annie I would have to agree with you that I also comprehend printed text over digital text. I feel like printed text doesn’t hurt my eyes after reading for a long period of time, and I also find it easier to focus on the words when I read a printed text. In the article Mark Pennington stated, “There are real advantages to print, you can write on the text right there, and you can also flip back and forth very easily, and spatially, there are advantages to print media.” I really like how he isn’t trying to tell people that printed text shouldn’t be used, because there are obviously some advantages to printed text and Annie you have covered a lot of the advantages.

      I also found many parts of the article agreeable. Technology is huge this day in age and it is a great way to get your students engaged in reading lessons and activities. As a future teacher I will be using a lot of digital reading and printed reading. I see advantages to both and I will be sure to teacher my future students’ the advantages. By using both I can figure out which method works best.

  • Kaitlyn C.

    As educators more and more we are hearing about the benefits and wonders of e-books and technology in the classroom in general. As someone who has always loved and been passionate about reading print books—and has never really taken to the Kindle—it was interesting to read Mark Pennington’s arguments FOR print books. Although annotations are comfortable and easy enough to do for students in print, I feel that he is somewhat close-minded to the possibility of expanding his students’ annotation skills to electronic. Yes—there are indeed a lot of “bells and whistles” on e-books that may distract or confuse some students, but I feel that if we took the time to teach our students how to properly and efficiently annotate on an e-book, it would altogether prove beneficial for them to have electronic as well as print in the classroom. To sum it up, this problem can be fixed with a little bit of time devoted to teaching our students about the technology. One point that Mark Pennington did make in favor of print that I agree with is the elimination of confusion when switching back and forth between pages/annotations when using print instead of e-books.

  • Cheyenne Deyo

    The article says that Mark Pennington “believes there will always be room for both print and digital reading in school” and I think that is the bottom line here. There will always be pros and cons to different items used in schools, but it is most important to consider the students in the classroom and the different needs that they have. What will help them learn best?

    I personally engage in and comprehend print text better than digital. I think that this is partially because it’s what I grew up with and am so used to using. I enjoy getting engaged with a book in my hands, and experiencing the book without the constant reminders technology brings like e-mails popping up and the brightness of the screen. I like forgetting about all of that and focusing on the story itself. That’s the case for novels, but I feel the same way about academic text or print because of the note-taking aspect. I prefer writing notes out on paper because I tend to remember them better and do not pay attention to how they look. I can write brief notes, highlight, draw arrows, etc. without worrying about the professionalism of my notes. Whereas with technology, I am accustomed to typing papers and being sure everything is presented well that I find it distracting to do on a device. What I am accustomed to and prefer does not matter when it comes to teaching my students; I will teach my students to use both types of text because they may learn differently than I did. Today, technology is such a big aspect in life and I think it’s important for students to utilize technology and be able to navigate different types of text.

  • Leah K

    This article brought up many important points when considering the importance of real print. I agree that it is beneficial for students to be able to write down actual notes. In my own experience, I learn better in class if I am writing down notes on a sheet of paper versus typing notes on my laptop. However, I think that if teachers begin early with students and digital reading, it could prove to be a very beneficial resource in the classroom. The article explained that students could easily get distracted by all the “bells and whistles” that eBooks provide, but if students are given the chance to practice and learn how these “bells and whistles” work, they can dig into the reading without having to stop and take a side note. I do not think that digital reading should completely take away from real print reading; but, I do think it is important that students learn about this form of print because society has become so technologically based and students will need to know how to work with it in their futures.

  • Caitlin Hinnergardt

    I like what Mark Pennington has to say whenever he says that there will always be a time and place for both print and digital texts in the classroom. I personally hope that there never comes a day when you can’t have one and not the other. I personally really enjoy print books and taking notes by hand but that is how I was brought up so it is all I ever know. But, lately everything I have done has been digitally. It was easy for me to read a text and take notes as I went along and then I was able to go back and see specifically the page and sentenced I wanted to comment on. The comment is made that it’s too much to teach the students how to use these graphics but it really doesn’t take that long to do a small tutorial or let the students mess around on the device for a little bit so they can see how it works. I like the idea of digital texts. I think it is something we need to spend time teaching how to do to our students. Many benefits can come from digital reading.

  • Jessa Jones

    My opinion of this article can be summed up in Pennington’s words, “The trick to being a good reader, no matter the medium, is being an engaged reader.” I don’t think it matters if students are reading from an e-book or a textbook, the students are either going to be engaged in the text or they aren’t. As a teacher you should find ways to teach your students to become engaged in text no matter what the medium is. It’s also important to allow your students to explore the different avenues of text to see what works best for them. For example, growing up I always read out of print textbooks. Like the article said you weren’t allowed to write in the textbooks, and that hindered my note taking skills. With e-books you can highlight the part in the text that stands out to you, keeping you more engaged than a textbook. On the flip side, another student could be distracted by the bells and whistles the e-book has hindering their note taking abilities, causing them to become disengaged.

    Technology is becoming a crucial part of our society, and as a future elementary teacher you have to teach you students how to run this technology. Textbooks are going to remain the same and technology will keep changing. You have to teach students how to utilize both avenues to create a well-rounded student. One way is not better than the other; it’s how the student becomes engaged that makes one better.

  • Katie Orscheln

    My initial response to this article was that I was a little disappointed that Pennington didn’t teach the students how to use the annotation feature of the digital readers. Although I understand his apprehension of the feature being too tricky to navigate and therefore not beneficial, I wish he would have at least taught them how to use it so the students had the option to utilize it or not. In my opinion, the annotation feature is what makes digital readers so beneficial in comparison to printed text. This feature allows the reader to easily highlight and make notes for them to refer back to while they are reading. Although some argue that it is just as easy to make sticky notes, or highlight phrases in a book (if authorized to do so), what makes the digital annotation feature so awesome is that there is a setting where you can view all of your notes and highlights by themselves. This makes it easy to find a note or a quote you highlighted when you want to refer back to it, but cannot recall exactly what page it was from.

  • Kelly T

    I am sort of on the fence with Mark Pennington, he made so good points but also points that I don’t agree with. To start off I agree that there should always be room for both print text and digital reading inside the classroom. Something that I don’t agree with Pennington is that the annotation features are hard to figure out. The more you play with those features the easier they become. Plus with this up and coming generation they are all about technology they will be able to figure it out a lot faster than we can. I know with the Kindle Fire it was really easy to use the notes features, plus you can see all the notes you took for that one book right on the same screen. To me that is easier to look at than flipping through my book to find that one note I want to talk about. That is the biggest thing that I disagreed Pennington with.

  • Kolby Brinker

    I really like how Mark Pennington talks about how “it’s counter intuitive to what we want kids to be able to do in the real world.” We want our students to read something and have ideas or questions to ask but we can’t have them write in the textbooks or books in general. We want them to be engaged in the book and be making notes on what they read, so I think E-books and technology allows the student to be able to write those remarks down by highlighting and note taking while they are reading. I understand that some students do not learn that way, so it would be nice to keep that in mind about your students by giving the choice to the student on if they want to take notes on a separate sheet or on the eBook itself.

    I also liked how he talks about that there is a time and place for both eBooks and traditional because you have to teach students how both eBooks and traditional books coexist in life and being able to both is a necessary to tool to be taught in the classroom.

  • Amanda B.

    I understand both points of view in this article. For a long time I preferred print text to digital, I liked being able to hold the book in my hands and was never much of a note-taker so not being able to write in the books didn’t bother me. However, now that I have had more practice with digital text and note taking on digital readers, I have found that I am better about taking notes and highlighting when reading on an iPad or Kindle. This is why I disagree with Pennington who said it was “too cumbersome” and “complicated” to bother teaching his students how to annotate and highlight the text on a digital reader. I believe the students could have easily picked up this skill and it would have helped them on the Assessment.

    Digital readers are great for differentiating instruction. Students can change the size of the text, the brightness of the pages, and highlight any information they want. Students also have the ability to listen to the book and follow along with the narration. These features are what sets digital readers apart from print text, but I still agree with Pennington in saying that, “there will always be room for both print and digital reading in school.”

  • Rebekah W

    I understand why Pennington may be hesitant about using digital reading in the classroom. However, I think it is important for educators to continue to grow as educational resources grow. The Chromebook annotation feature may have seemed complicated to learn how to use, but I think he should have taken the time to teach the students. Honestly, students in this day and age are very tech savvy, many students have devices at home that they play on all the time. I think it would be beneficial for them to learn how to use these devices in an educational way. Technology is going to continue to become a huge resource for educators, we should begin teaching our students how to use it now so they are prepared for the future.

  • Hannah Abell

    I can understand completely why Pennington would be hesitant about bringing digital readers into the classroom. I know that I was hesitant too at first. I thought that reading on an electronic device meant that I had to choose between ‘real’ books and digital ones, but that’s not the case. I think it is important for educators to grow and change with the times as educational resources do. I believe that even though the annotation app frustrated him, he should have taken more time to learn about it and teach his students how to use it. Students today are so much better with technology than we will probably ever be, so it may not have even been an issue for the students if only he had given it a chance. It is quite beneficial for the students to learn how to use these kinds of technology for usage in the classroom. Technology will continue to grow and become one of the biggest resources for teachers as well as students. As teachers we should be prepared for this growth and change and help our students to embrace it as well.

  • Karleen Carlson

    As I started reading this article, I was happy to be reading that Mr. Pennington was an advocate for e-readers. He understands that all students learn differently and that e-books are just one option to gain student engagement in a text. However, as i kept reading I came across the portion where Mr. Pennington had decided to not teach his students how to annotate and highlight on their Chromebooks for fear of it being to hard for his students. This seems a little contradictive to me. Here is a man wanting his students to be engaged and involved in their text, and yet he is denying them that opportunity. It is especially disheartening because he didn’t believe they would be able to overcome the task. Our young students work well with technology. It doesn’t too long for them to figure most of it out. I believe that had Mr. Pennington given his students the opportunity to learn and practice this skill they would have thrived and it could have improved they way they took the test.

  • Freedom

    I agree with the statement, “…there will always be room for both print and digital reading in school.” This statement hosts such a deep meaning when reflecting on this article because it supports the idea that neither case is completely excluding one strategy over the other. Both versions of text presentation are valid and useful. Depending on the circumstances, students may benefit more from one than the other. Many people have commented on Pennington’s failed attempt to present the digital features to his students. Although you can’t dispute that, it is important to consider test administration constraints. It was said in the text, “He thought it was too complicated for them to learn how to use well in time for the test.” As with any new strategy or tool, adequate time needs to be devoted for exploration and practice. With that said, I feel that the e-books have great potential and that it will just take time for educators to explore and orient themselves with this style of reading in order to better teach this new style and strategy to the next generation of learners. As the article pointed out, it might only be a simple shift in perspective.

  • Mackenzie

    I agree with a lot of the points that Mark Pennington has made. For example, I agree that it is counterintuitive to tell students in school that they cannot write in their textbooks because when they get into college and the real world, that is what will be expected of them. It cannot be easy for students to spend so many years in school learning something one way, only to go on in life and be expected to do the opposite. I liked the fact that this article wasn’t arguing for e-books to replace books, but that e-books could be a helpful tool when it comes to annotating, which cannot always be done in a book. As many other readers have pointed out, I was also disappointed about the fact that Mark Pennington decided not to teach his students how to use the annotations on the Chromebook. I don’t think that he was giving the students enough credit and that if he had given them the chance, they would have been able to figure it out.

  • Amanda M

    I agree that there will always be a place and time for both
    print and digital texts. I find pros and cons in both mediums and have personal
    preferences for both as well. When it comes to reading for personal pleasure, I
    prefer print texts because I like the physical feeling of the book and its
    pages in my hands. I find that digital texts are very useful, though, when it
    comes to reading text for classes or assignments. I find it much less
    intimidating (and easier on my wallet) to use digital texts because you aren’t
    staring at an information text that is two inches thick. I also like being able
    to highlight and create notes in digital text that we are not normally able to
    do with classroom textbooks. The Kindle has a feature that will define words if
    you highlight them as well, which could be very useful for students if they don’t
    understand a word. Again, I think there are good and bad things about both print
    and digital text and I think they can both be successfully utilized in a

  • McKenzie R

    I have found myself both in agreement and disagreement with Mark Pennington’s statements within this article. I completely agree that “the trick to being a good reader, no matter the medium, is being an engaged reader.” Although some individuals prefer one type of text over another, this does not change the fact that students must be prepared to engage with both print and digital text as adults. As educators it is our responsibility to prepare our students to be successful in the ‘real world’. Technology is becoming a major part of our daily lives and our students must be able to effectively comprehend and interact with both print text and digital text.

    I do not agree with Pennington’s choice to neglect teaching his students how to use the annotation feature for an assessment on a digital medium. I think Pennington’s intention was to avoid overwhelming his students with the “bells and whistles” of the technology. Instead, he unintentionally created a disadvantage for his students and in turn effected their performance level. In my own classroom, would have taught my students how to use the annotation feature to better prepare them for the assessment and improve their comprehension of digital text.

  • Molly DeBusk

    I both agree and disagree with Mark Pennington’s discussion points. I do think there is always a place for digital and paper books. I also agree that the annotations play a key role in the comprehension and full understanding of text; highlighting and taking notes can be tedious and difficult on technology. It is not impossible for a child, but it is not as simple as within a text. Annotating digitally can also seem less permanent in my opinion, it is very easy to take away or simply forget about the notes made while reading, thus defeating the purpose. I believe that students could easily use sticky notes and a pen to annotate within class sets of textbooks; the books will stay clean but the students are comprehending and understanding through annotation. I understand that the push for digital will help keep the students learning and with the times as well as the resources being endless. But, I think a lot can be said for a child’s connection to a book when holding the book, flipping the pages, and placing a sticky note/writing on a page.

  • LG

    I’m partial when it comes to whether I prefer e-books or traditional books. E-books allow students to annotate in books without damaging or wearing down the pages. I do not understand why Pennington would think that his students would be incapable to learning how to use the annotations features for an e-book. Students who grew up as technology was expanding understand it quickly, even a four year old can quickly figure out how to navigate through tablets. Why would school aged children not be able to? E-book are great and can be beneficial for a students, however it depends on what sort of book. A narrative book is great, because a student has the option of listening to the book. A school textbook, personally, makes little to no difference whether it is in hard text, or ebook format. I agree with the statement “There will always be room for both print and digital reading in school”. It is good for students to work with both text, as long as they are using the most beneficial method.

  • Christina R.

    I agree with the claims Mark Pennington’s brings up in this article. I know that personally I prefer reading in print rather than on a digital reader. Yet most elementary students are not allowed to write in their textbook, so I think digital readers would benefit them in a positive way. I believe the reason that students these days prefer print over digital readers it because they grew up reading from print and its what they are used to. So if we train the next generation of elementary students to read from digital readers instead of print they will be accustom to that and learn how to comprehend from digital readers. Most jobs these days require some form of digital text so I think we need to start our students young so by the time they start working they are comfortable with reading from digital devices.

  • Robyn L

    I can definitely see both sides of the argument here. As a student, I like being able to physically hold the text book instead of reading it off of a tablet or computer. Although I recently shifted when were provided kindle’s for our college. We were required to read a book off of the kindle for a class and take notes. I surprisingly enjoyed reading off of the kindle but came to the same conclusion as the author in the sense that I didn’t like taking notes on it. You could easily click to your notes, but it was almost an extra step that wasn’t necessary. I agree that both electronics and paper copies will be integrated throughout the schools because that’s what is happening in our world. Students now will need to be able to do both for their futures, whether that’s in the workforce or in college.

  • Stephanie Morrison

    Reading this article made me address some of my own thoughts on this topic. Technology integration continues to expand within the school systems every year. More schools are developing a one-to-one concept and exchanging their textbooks for Ipads. From experience, I find it much more difficult to comprehend information that I am reading on my ipad that is in relation to school. There are far too many distractions that can easily be accessed through a tablet or laptop. Often times, I find myself on social media instead of reading or typing notes. I think the same issues can be addressed in the elementary schools as well. Kids become distracted and want to use the tablets for games or more appealing activities for their age group. It is much easier to have the textbook or worksheets in front of me. It brings a kinesthetic learning aspect into my learning. I enjoy being able to turn through the pages and write and mark on what I want.

  • Samantha J

    The discussion of whether e-books or traditional books are more effective for students has been strong for the last several years. However environmentally friendly e-books are, personally, I would choose to learn with traditional paper materials. One of the pros to keeping traditional paper materials that Korbey mentioned in the article is that students can freely annotate using pen, pencil, highlighter, etc. Being able to read and physically annotate as I go along is a tactile exercise that helps me remember the important parts and makes me think more deeply about what I am annotating. I think that with our ever-changing technological society it’s important to make sure that our students are up to date on technology and have the skills to be able to utilize many different resources. E-books are also super versatile and easily transportable. You don’t need to take out supplies to annotate an e-book, and also most of the time there is internet in the same device which makes it easier for research and clarification regarding the text. Overall, I think that the e-book vs paper materials debate will continue on, but it’s when you have access to both your students will have the most success.

  • Darissa M.

    I found this article to be very interesting! As a student who has used both digital media and print media, I have experienced advantages and disadvantages to both. It is true that digital media can be engaging at first, but there are many times I feel that I have not gotten the full benefit from a text because of the distractions that digital media presents. I personally prefer print media. While I still think it is important to incorporate technology in today’s classrooms, there is a point when we must choose what is most beneficial to student’s education. In this case I believe print media provides more advantages for students by allowing them to easily review what has been read as well presents an easy format for note taking when students ideas are flowing. Perhaps allowing students to explore and choose which media format, either digital or print, they are most comfortable with is the best option.

  • Emilie L

    I think that Mark Pennington’s article is a well written article that views both sides of the issue at hand. I thought it was interesting how he chose to focus on the annotation piece of reading a text to determine its worth and benefit. I’ve never been the type of person who chose to make annotations in books so it wasn’t an issue when I was told I couldn’t. Recently, I was asked to make highlights in a book, then make annotations connecting my highlights to a topic. I found this task simple and easy and condensed, since the highlights and notes were all kept in the same place rather than flipping through pages. However, for students who are more hands-on and visual, like myself, books are nice to hold the weight in your hands and flip each individual page. I can usually picture where I read something if I want to flip back to it later. Books are worth so much more than the ability to write in them. If a book is truly good, then students won’t have an issue reading it and making connections, considering they were taught deeper reading techniques prior. I think sometimes companies or individuals who try to make book into digital text focus too much on making it more visually appealing and miss the purpose of reading. Reading is meant for the brain to work and visualize and make connections (text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world). If things are distracting them from doing that then what’s the purpose of making annotations in the first place? So let students decide and make both resources available.

  • Molly Shoendaller

    I can see advantages and disadvantages of both print
    and digital readings, I like how Mark Pennington said there will always be room
    for both in school. I personally do not like using digital e-readers, but that
    is because I have not used them very much and I am not yet familiar with all of
    their capabilities. I think the best situation in school would to allow
    students to choose if they want to use print or digital text, every student is
    different, some students find it difficult to hold a thin piece of technology
    and stare at a screen, they like holding a physical book. Although with the
    technology advancing like it is, e-readers may become the norm and students should
    learn to use them and their features in a way that enhances their own reading.
    For right now, I think that as long as students are engaged in reading and
    becoming fluent readers it does not matter what medium they are reading it off
    of. If teachers are able to use both mediums, I think they should, students
    would benefit from using both and figuring out what best works for their own
    reading needs.

  • Emma M

    This topic is so important to address in the school setting with the major shift to technology. I can see both sides of the argument and they both have their pros and cons. As a college student, I prefer a paper book for textbooks and books that I read for pleasure. Being able to have the book in your hands, turn the pages, mark it up, and flip back to notes easily all definitely are reasons why I prefer a printed book. However, with the recent shift in technology in the classroom, e-books are something that as teachers and students we must adjust too. We shouldn’t be scared of the technology that the students use, we should embrace it and help them to use it wisely. With students taking state assessments and other standardized tests online, we need to be able to teach them the tools they will need to succeed on these which include how to interact with digital texts. I think it is all about finding balance and what works best for each student in the classroom.

  • Shelby M.

    This article is one of many I have recently read on this topic. I definitely agree with a lot of Mark Pennington’s statements in this article. As a student right now, I prefer holding a book and flipping pages by hand rather than holding a tablet. Going through college, there has been many instances where I’ve had to read off the computer. In a class I am in right now, we are required to read books off of the Kindle and take notes. I don’t mind reading off of it but the taking notes part is harder, in my opinion. On the flip side of that, unless the book is yours, it is hard to make notes in a physical book because most text books are school issued and you are not allowed to mark in them. I do believe that there will be room for both print and digital reading in the near future. In the end, like Mark Pennington said, students should have the “ability to talk to the text, to create an internal dialogue.”

  • Hannah K.

    The debate between traditional textbooks and e-readers has been going on for quite some time. I think that this article can be summed up by Pennington’s words, “The trick to being a good reader, no matter the medium, is being an engaged reader.” Younger and younger children are being able to manipulate their parents’ cell phones and tablets with ease. I don’t think that it is right to say that students would have a hard time manipulating text features on an e-reader. However, I do completely agree with what the article says about how we may need to teach students new strategies to become even more engaged readers when using an e-text. Students are eager to learn and we, as teachers, just need to harness their enthusiasm and put it to good work. I think that in the future we may see a rise of e-readers and we just need to find out how to teach students how to be effective, engaged readers when using them.

  • Shiann F

    I understand both points of view in this article. I know that technology is quickly growing in our society and it is just going to continue to grow. There will be times where you will have to incorporate technology and digital versions of text in the classroom, so it is important to understand how to use it and to teach the students how to use it as well. I personally prefer to read the printed text over the digital text. In the article, Pennington states, “School students better understand material when not distracted by the bells and whistles of an interactive digital book.” I agree with this statement. It is easy to be distracted when reading digital text. When it comes to note taking, I personally am able to understand the content and absorb the information when I am able to write hand written notes instead of making digital notes. I will teach my students how to read both types of text, so they are capable and comfortable doing both.

  • Amanda B

    I found this article to be interesting as a future teacher and to learn more about Mark Pennington’s insight on both digital and print texts in the classroom setting. As we shift more into the digital age, it is important to still consider that all of our student’s are going to learn differently and we need to reach out to meet all of their needs. I don’t believe that a teacher should solely decide on one technique to enforce in the classroom but instead explore multiple options to decide which is best for your students. As a classroom teacher, it is still important to emphasize the importance of taking notes when reading to remember important details and events from the story or text that is being read.

  • Brooke Janssen

    I thought this was an interesting article. I personally prefer to read print over digital, but I have noticed that my ability to comprehend digital print has developed quite well in the past few years. There are worldwide shifts of schools and businesses becoming paperless as our society and technology are becoming one. As for the annotating ability in digital print, I believe that there is growth to be made. On a kindle, it is possible to annotate ebooks, but I have found it inconvenient. I think with the development of technology, annotating will become easier. My generation has been one of the first to really grow up with technology at our fingertips but still used paper print to learn to read, and we still have difficulties reading digitally. I am curious to know if someone who has learned to read primarily using digital print or was in a paperless classroom has the opposite attitude about digital print versus paper print.

  • Natalie Frische

    Often in education, we are told, “e-books are the future.” While they certainly have their place in education, I don’t believe that paper textbooks are entirely obsolete. I have experience with both types, and I actually find myself learning best electronically. However, when reading for pleasure, I favor the tangible book. Electronically, I feel like I can read more comfortably, making me compelled to actually complete reading assignments. With a device, I don’t have to maneuver a hefty textbook and read in a lighted area with all my supplies. On a device, I can read anywhere or anytime without any other needed materials. The article brought up that annotating on a device is cumbersome. It is, but it is not so obnoxious that it detracts from my concentration on the text. In my future classroom, I think I will need to balance between reading electronically and tangibly. Nothing will ever replace a classroom library full of “real” books in an elementary classroom. However, students are still very engaged by reading on a device. Overall, a balance is needed so each student is engaged while still being comfortable while they read. Either way, though, the ultimate goal is occurring – reading!

  • Megan Streit

    Deciding the best way for your students to learn can be very difficult. I have found through my own experience that I prefer reading physical books. However, students are very adaptable, and they learn new skills, such as reading and annotating eBooks, extremely quickly. For very young students, I think that there is value in learning to read physical books. This gives them an appreciation for the book that they are holding, and I think it can help them build self-to-text connections as well. For older students who prefer working with technology, eBooks may be a more engaging route to take. As a teacher, if the resources are available, I think it would be great to be able to offer students the option to choose how they learn best, if only on a few reading assignments. Really, it is up to the teacher to know his or her students and work with them and their abilities. It was very well written that there will always be room for both in the classroom, and I agree whole-heartedly.

  • Holly Schoonover

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this blog post and seeing another perspective on paper and ink books verses e-books in the classroom. The author expresses that there is a place and time for both of these resources and I couldn’t agree more. As our world is progressing technologically, I think it is increasingly important to teach our students how to engage themselves in reading e-books. One setback that was mentioned in the article was the difficulty with annotating on a device rather than on paper. I strongly disagree that this is an issue because I have found annotating on my kindle to be much easier than writing notes in books. Not only am I able to type faster than I can write, but the technology features on e-books allow you to easily search annotations without having to skim through a book. I do see importance in reading paper books and have no doubt that comprehension is better when students read the traditional way but as a supporter of technology in the classroom and I think we should teach students to achieve the same comprehension level no matter the source of text.

  • Courtney Priddy

    I personally find this topic to be very relevant in today’s society. As technology becomes more and more prominent in our world, we as teachers must understand how to adjust our teaching strategies to better the education of our students. More and more research about what is better e-books or print for students has come out in the past few years and we have not found the best strategies to use with e-books yet but I believe we will. I enjoyed reading this article because it shows that there are benefits to both types of reading. I think as years pass we will have to teach our students techniques to be successful readers using technology. I believe that eventually teachers and students will find techniques that make students equally successful when reading print, and or e-books.

  • Jill Hummel

    I agree with Pennington when he stated that grade school students understood material better when they are were not distracted with the bells and whistles of digital technology. I feel that younger generations are becoming more technological advanced are may own technology of their own. Therefore, younger students are experts at the technology that may be put in front of them, and are able to detour to other apps or programs within the device (ex. Games or the internet). As teachers if we are to give our students technology for learning purposes, we need to be aware of what they are doing while they should be either reading or working. I believe that in the future a majority of our books and resources will be switching to technology, so we need to be prepared to accommodate to the new adjustments that will need to be implemented in the classroom.

  • Alana Avery

    I was troubled by Pennington’s comment about not teaching his student’s how to use the annotate feature. He makes the comment that some of them could barely walk and chew gum let alone figure out how to use technology while reading. I think that this teacher already has a negative attitude towards the abilities of his students and this could be unintentionally shown in the classroom. I have seen young children myself use and guide themselves through technology better than I can. At this time, children under the age of three know how to unlock an IPhone, and play games on their parent’s devices. I believe that quite possibly Mark Pennington isn’t comfortable with the annotation feature or technology and didn’t want to spend the time to figure it out. This could be a serious lapse in judgment on his part.
    However, I do agree that technology can be somewhat distracting to a reader. There are a lot of bells and whistles on these devices and some students may have the urge to peek around on the device. Again, I believe if we teach our students the importance of being able to annotate and dive into the e-book and explode our thoughts on the margins without having to worry about “damaging a textbook”, this will give students the capability to really connect with a text. As teachers, we can use our recourses and our knowledge to help keep up with the progress of technology and help students adapt their attention in the right ways and change our perspective on technology and note-taking.

  • Kristen Doberer

    I personally like using ink and paper better than digital.
    I’m wondering if it has anything to do with how my eyes react to a screen as
    opposed to paper. I think it would be interesting to see a study done on the
    science behind how our eyes (more specifically young students’ eyes) react
    differently to digital vs paper, and if there are any differences on where the
    eyes look between the two. Something that I think needs to be considered more
    is how technology will be changing in the years to come and how annotation
    digitally will change. The author touched on this topic but I think is missing
    the factor that elementary students today were born into a technological age.
    When I was in elementary school (maybe 3rd grade?) my school had
    just received a dozen or so huge desktop computers (probably dial up). Fifteen
    or so years later schools have multiple sets of ipads, laptops, and computer
    labs, plus smart boards, projectors, and more technology in almost every
    classroom. These kids are way better at technology than I probably ever will
    be. Just like we as future teachers need to prepare our students for jobs that
    haven’t been invented yet, we should be preparing them to properly use
    technology such as digital readers/apps/methods that haven’t even been thought
    of yet. I think it’s worth the time to find a method to have students
    comprehend digital text better. Although I still prefer paper, I think it’s
    time we teach both equally.

  • Alyssa Bisagno

    I have somewhat mixed thoughts on if students truly can “go deep while reading with digital text.” I find this skill to be very dependent on the reader and his or her reading abilities. One of the comments Pennington makes that I agree with completely is when he states, “the trick to being a good reader, no matter the medium, is being an engaged reader.” I believe that it is possible to engage with text both in print and digitally, but personal preference can make a difference here. For me, I would rather read in print and take notes off to the side. However, many other people find it easier to highlight an e-book and type their thoughts. For both ways, I think it is crucial for readers to have strategies modeled to them for how to make meaningful connections to text.

  • Nina Hollingsworth

    While I agree that taking notes over an e-book may be more difficult for students, I believe that part of that comes from students not being exposed how to properly take notes electronically from a young age. From a state’s testing perspective, I also see the benefits in getting students accustomed to reading, taking notes, and comprehending more electronic information. By students being familiar with the technology that they will see during testing, the stress surrounding the tests may be brought lower due to the students being more familiar with the format. In the article, Burmeister states that annotating digital books gives his students a sense of freedom—a place to “dirty up” their materials with thoughts and ideas. I thought that was an incredibly powerful statement. That, paired with the idea that students could “dirty up” the books without having to throw away the books at the end of the school year, makes for a great case for e-books. I also agree with Pennington when he says that, “the ability to talk to the text, to create an internal dialogue with the text is the best way to help students understand what they’re reading.”

  • Dallas Froome

    Pennington’s article gives some really good reasons for the use of both digital and print texts in the classroom. However, I believe that we should continue to use print text more often than digital. Reading digitally has some issues. Many people, including myself, complain of headaches or getting tired of looking at a bright screen. Annotating is much more difficult with digital text and being able to write out your thoughts on sticky notes gives you a much better chance of retaining that information, just as it has been found that typing notes is much less effective than writing them out. The article states that digital reading is more kinesthetic and I disagree. There is no movement required like there is with print reading. When reading from print you can easily flip the pages forward and backward and take notes. Most electronics are visually pleasing and can sometimes be too stimulating, thus distracting the reader from the information presented in the text. Overall, I think reading from print will prove to be much more beneficial for readers, especially young ones, because there are many engaging but not distracting ways a student can work with print.

  • Olga Mcalpine

    Although, i think that hard copy text helps me connect better with the information (for me personally), e-text has huge potential in education. I love e-reading but if I have to study for a test or make good notes I would have to use hard copy print. I think that’s because I grew up in a world where e-books or anything digital not existed. We were taught how to read paragraph by paragraph, how to stop and take notes, high light the key words, feel the book and examine its cover, and smell of the new printed text book, or the old library book (you could never forget that smell). This is a positive side of hard copy print, but when I think about how many text books we had to carry in our backpacks, time spent on clearing any pencil notes before returning, and honestly how many text books never opened just collected dust. Sure, I enjoy take notes and study hard copy print but i didn’t learned any other way. I think digital text books, or any reading material could be very beneficial for students. Just think about in class reading assignment, students could read in their own pase not worrying if other students read faster (they can’t hear the sound of flipping pages, which could be very irritating for students with learning disabilities). How many children get discouraged to read because of the book size (do I have to read that much) without give it a try. With digital print, children don’t really have hundred pages book in their hands, they don’t physically see it. I think this generation of students already have digital basic knowledge in them, if they can learn how to connect with the text, how to take notes and more, digital text could be the way to go.

  • Mikaela

    I agree with the article that students need to be fully engaged with the print to create connections, comprehension, and full understanding. I think that having the print in your hands, as a concrete item, is more useful to the reader because it allows them to flip between pages and create notes in the margins and highlight the text. It allows them to fully engage with the content. I also think that students are used to using digital media in forms of social media. Therefore, students are not used to practicing correct or complete grammar when using online and digital media. Students are also using these social media forms in short intervals and often get distracted after short periods of time and therefore have a hard time focusing on reading for a longer period of time when it is in the form of digital text. However, I do believe that there are advantages to using digital text and eBooks. I think that through resources and different apps available, there are ways to make annotating and other activities easy, accessible, and effective for comprehension and reading.

  • Jenna G

    As a student with experience in taking notes with a traditional text and e-book, I can definitely see both sides of the argument. I have always been the student that learns best by physically writing my notes with a pen and paper. There is something about typing so fast and not being completely focused on the notes I am taking when I am taking them digitally. When we were given kindles in class and were expected to take notes with them, I was completely lost at first. I wasn’t nearly as comfortable taking notes on the kindle. But, by the end of it, I actually liked it a lot. Everything is so much more organized. I personally think that where this teacher went wrong was how he didn’t teach his students how to properly use the annotation feature on their devices. I don’t think he gave his students nearly enough credit. I agree that both ways are important in the classroom; however, I think that since many of these children have grown up using technology their whole lives, as long as we teach them how to be successful in using their e-readers, we shouldn’t hold them back.

  • Kolby H.

    I really like how both sides of the article are spelled out completely. The author realizes that digital reading/learning is good and is growing and gaining momentum, but she also realizes that being able to read print text is also very important to the students’ learning. One thing that I really like about digital reading is the addition of being able to easily annotate and highlight the text directly in the reading apps. This is a skill that I think is very helpful for students and really helps them to analyze and understand what they are reading. I wish that when I was in elementary school, they would have taught us that skill. It would be really helpful for now when I have to annotate texts. So I definitely like that aspect of the digital text. But personally, I think I read better and understand texts better when I read an actual paper copy. It may be the way I was taught mostly through school, but the experience of reading a paper text is a little bit better for me.

  • Dakota F

    Technology is getting better and better each day, and I think we would be stupid not to take advantage of it as teachers. I believe that ebooks are the future, but I don’t believe they will completely replace print. I really liked how Mike Pennington talked about, “it’s counter intuitive to what we want kids to be able to do in the real world.” We want our students to read something, and have ideas or questions about the text. Then we ask our students to not write in the textbooks or books in general. We want our students to be engaged in what they are reading and we ask them to take notes as the read. I think the ebook technology allows the students to be able write those thoughts and questions down by highlighting and note taking while they are reading.

  • Mary Kate Peterson

    I found this article to be incredibly interesting especially reading it from the eyes of a perspective teacher. This is an area where I have definitely begun grappling with and will struggle as an educator, because I see value in using print text over the technology age that is upon us. I personally prefer print text whenever possible, I do feel like I comprehend more and can interact with the text through annotating in the margins. Comparatively with digital text it is harder for me to focus and I catch myself re-reading passages multiple times in order to fully comprehend the content, however in some instances it could be faster. I would disagree with the fact that digital text is more interactive, I think it could be but generally highlighting on a tablet doesn’t connect to the brain like pen and paper writing do.

    However, I do understand Mark Pennington’s point that “reading digitally will require different reading strategies”, I would agree with this statement because there is a comprehensible difference between reading on print and reading digitally. There is also a comprehension difference between reading social media, for short term gratification, versus reading a textbook, for long term memory. I will be interested to know what the results are later down the road between the popularity of print text versus digital print, along with how this change has affect students comprehension able abilities along with their attention span.

  • Katie K

    I feel privileged to be a student during a time in which I have been able to experience reading from both print and digital texts. With a decent amount of work with both of these mediums, I can very readily see where this author is coming from. Personally, I am one who prefers print text because it allows the chance to flip back and forth between the pages, mark on the margins, and have a better spatial visualization of the text itself. I love the way that print allows you to interact with the text in a hands-on manner. However, I do see the value in e-books. As we advance further into a technology generation, it is important to develop as digitally literate learners. E-books have many unique features that can enhance the reading and learning process; I think it will just take a focused approach in teaching students the skills to effectively use these resources. I believe that Pennington hits the nail on the head in his statement that “there will always be room for both print and digital reading in school.”

  • Kelli Sweeney

    I found it really interesting that this article started out talking about how students are more engaged in reading when it is done digitally and that students can catch up to digitally reading as much as print. However, the article took a turn when Mark Pennington talked about the struggles that the students had when it came to digital reading. He was talking about the advantages about digital reading but he didn’t show his seventh grade class how to use the features and how to annotate digitally when that is a crucial part to switching from print to digital. This is also a way to make the students frustrated towards the idea of digital annotations and that is not what we are working towards.

  • Natalie Biel

    As a whole, I think this article brought up some interesting points that need to be considered as we enter into a progressively more digitized classroom. I see the value in both mediums and hope that each will continue to be used. The article mentioned that college students prefer paper textbooks because of their convenience when taking notes. I think it is important to remember that college students today didn’t work as closely with technology as students today. Their preference for paper textbooks could be a product of their upbringing. However, if college students were brought up being taught to take notes digitally (which they are fully capable of, regardless of what this article may say), they may have a different perspective. Over the next few years, which will be my first as a teacher, it will be interesting to see how technology develops to better accommodate the needs of today’s students.

  • Hannah Miller

    I found this blog very interesting. With technology being such a part of the society nowadays, I know that digital devices in the classrooms are becoming more of a common learning/teaching strategy. In this blog, when talking about marginal annotations, I do see there being a problem with using digital devices and being able to make those marginal notes. Personally, I think that taking notes in the margins while reading on digital devices is difficult. Like stated in this article, you can flip back and fourth easily while reading a printed book, reading off a digital device you don’t have that luxury. However, I do think that by learning how to easily flip through, take notes, highlight, and read on a digital device the more efficient and effective it will be. I see digital devices becoming more and more a part of the classrooms once students are taught how to utilize them to their advantage.

  • Alexis H

    I actually really enjoyed this article. For someone who doesn’t quite love the resource of online trading appreciate how technology is growing to allow easier annotations in e-books and online trading will allow for easier and more convenient reading for everyone. When I first started reading on my kindle if was hard to get into the reading but once I learned how to use the features of kindle I started to love it. I can read at night without having to find a light. Also the features of the reading app allow students and all readers to use different colors as well as fonts and sizes so that if accommodated to readers with visual impairments. Each book can be individualized for each student. With technology growning everyday our students will be able to personalize their readings and comprehension.

  • Jezarae Knitter

    I found this article to be very interesting. Growing up, I was never really taught how to properly annotate. My senior year of high school, we were given iPads and were expected to know how to annotate text on it. I struggled with this because, like the article said, we were never allowed to write in our textbooks. Once I learned how to annotate on my iPad, I ended up really enjoying it. It helped me to collect my thoughts and find the key details of the text. I like how easy it is to simply flip through the pages of a book and quickly see your notes. This is a definite downside to eBooks. With the changing world that we live in, we will have to learn to adapt to the new ways of doing things. I think with time, digital devices will become more effective and efficient in the classroom.

  • Regina Bledsoe

    Before reading this article, I had never really thought about my own personal opinion on this topic. What are my views on reading and comprehending text in print versus digitally? I think with digital media, come distractions. The article mostly talks about modeling the functionality of digital text, and how hard it is to teach students those functions all while remembering everything they read. Their memory systems just don’t work that way and it’s hard to truly comprehend the text when you have to go back and forth between screens and features within the text just to take notes. While this is truly a huge issue, especially with elementary aged students, for me, I struggle with staying on one browser at a time to read a text. However, in our most recent Teaching Literacy class, we have been give Kindles to read and annotate text. I think integrating online text with literacy comprehension works best on reading specific technology. This was a great article to really get educators thinking about the future of teaching literacy.

  • Rylee Shea

    Technology is an essential topic to discuss in the classroom today. Reading on technology has proven to become very beneficial in the classroom when used appropriately. I agree with Mark Pennington on the topic of annotation. It is important for the student to be involved in the reading because involvement leads to engagement. Technology has the potential to help the student analyze the text deeply, while leaving notes, highlighting important quotes, and bolding words. This can lead to comprehension of themes, and other story structures more efficiently. Before allowing technology in the classroom the teacher must teach the students the most effective ways to use annotating tools. If the students are unaware of the appropriate ways to use technology, then eBooks may set back the classroom progress rather than move it forward. E-books can be used during independent, partner, guided, or read aloud.

  • Alyssa Noble

    I thought this article was very interesting. When given the choice between digital reading and printed reading, I will always choose printed. Personally, it helps me to be able to flip the pages and hold the book in my hands. Digital reading is distracting and I easily get off task. For some people, I am sure they can handle the digital reading. However, for elementary students, it will be something that has to be introduced slowly and in moderation. The digital world has so many distractions that students can get off task very quickly. As far as annotating goes, I never had much interest in it and thought of it as another thing I had to do. It is hard for me to pick out important things and focus on just those. When I did have to annotate, I found it much easier and more beneficial to do in a printed book. I agree that technology will continue to grow in education and reading. It allows the students to interact with the text in a variety of ways. However, it will be a continuous change for students and teachers and we need to teach the skills appropriate for technology use.

  • Kelsi Baird

    I agree with the statement that the trick to being a good reader, is being an engaged reader. If they are active readers they will engage with the text which they can easily comprehend. I think annotations can be very useful for students to use especially at a young age. The students like mentioned in the blog can use small sticky notes that come off easily and they can flip back and forth very easily which are great advantages of print books. I think that the use of devices are good to use in school because it is very engaging for students while also teaching them new skills while being creative. I like the closing statement a lot, that there should be room for both print and digital reading in school. Annotating isn’t something we were ever really taught in school but I think the use of annotating should be used very young because it allows students to “talk to the text”, which helps students understand what they are reading.

  • Julia George

    Holly Korbey provides a lot of insight into this discussion of e-books vs. printed material. I really enjoyed reading pros and cons for both sides of the story. I personally prefer printed text over reading from an e-book. I personally have dyslexia and therefore have a difficult time with my reading comprehension at times. I find that it becomes increasingly more difficult to comprehend text while I read digitally. I understand that we are living in a society that is becoming more and more fueled by technology, and I do agree that using e-readers helps not only save paper but enable students to make comments on the actual text. However, I do not think that we can become a strictly digital world for reasons such as learned disabilities or even just learning preferences. Students can learn almost any expectation as long as it is clearly taught. However, just because student will be able to properly read an e-book does not make it the best choice for everyone.

  • Rachel Hiatt

    Immediately, when instructed to read and reflect on an article, I located the print button and printed out a copy. After stopping to highlight quotes that struck me as insightful and jotting down relevant thoughts that popped into my mind into the margins, I finished the article. Not only did I read the article, bit I also understood the message and made connections to my prior experiences as a student and pre-service teacher. As Pennington said, “there are real advantages to print” and I fully agree with him. It seems like students have deeper learning experiences when using the physical text. However since more and more schools are switching to technology as a more efficient means, it lands on the teacher to make technology as engaging as the physical text. I think this is something that may be easier with the younger grades since they aren’t used to using physical textbooks. While I’m on board with the use of technology in the classroom, teachers must set expectations for use, and provide consistency within variety to make the learning engaging and meaningful.

  • Pingback: Strategies to Help Students ‘Go Deep’ When Reading Digitally | MindShift | KQED News()


Holly Korbey

Holly Korbey’s work on parenting and education has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Babble, Brain, Child Magazine, and others. She lives in Nashville with her family. Follow her on Twitter: @HKorbey

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor