Reading in the New World
By Bridgette D. Williams, M.A.T.
Which is the best way to read? Printed hard copied material? Electronic books and other printed sources? Audial books? Are books printed on paper going out of style? In this new age of accelerated technology, the size of printed newspapers has shrunk, you can read your magazines online and have electronic copies of books. With audible versions of everything, you save the time of reading and have someone else read it to you. As an author and publisher, I wonder about these things in this time of convenience. Are printed books on the edge of extinction?
Being a fan of science fiction, I examine themes in movies and television shows which give us glimpses of potential future realities. In some old Sci-Fi TV shows predictions have actually become our reality today. Leonard Nimoy’s television movie 1998, Brave New World, addressed some things in our culture which could possibly become lost to technology. Another example is the movie, The Book of Eli,where books were obsolete. In the original Star Trek series, we see in multiple episodes references drawn to losing ourselves to technology, yet the theme supported the values of the human touch in its place.
I have no opposition for the growth of technology. As an elementary educator, I use it daily in my class. I also encourage my students to use a website with free books, that is free e-books to read. Noted that in high schools, middle schools, and college, there seems to be an equal usage of tech materials versus paper materials. My concern for using electronic devices to read is the extended exposure can cause strain or in your eyes retina. Devices have an addictive quality to them. Even holding a phone can be a bit satisfying.
Here are a few reasons why I favor printed material in a traditional book:
Your brain’s Gamma and Theta waves become more active by visually decoding (reading) language. Reading moves these waves up to optimal range which results in a stronger memory, effective problem solving, cognition, learning, and the stimulation of senses. Alpha waves are also more active, creating a more relaxed state of being.
Listening while reading gives your brain a feast of activities. You are seeing and hearing (listening). If you are reading out loud three cognitive functions are happening: speaking, hearing, and seeing.
You can get cozy reading a book in your bed, but try doing that with a Kindle. Don’t fall asleep with it in your hands. You could have an accident and drop it.
Printed books are a treasure which can be put on display, attracting the attention of new readers.
Printed books can give you a real-life experience with the author. How many audiobooks have been autographed? The author acknowledges you by signing the book it serves as evidence of a real human connection
Young children need to see their parents and other adults reading materials from sources other than those provided on a device. A printed source in your hand is proof to a young child that reading is important. If you are reading from an e-reader, or any other device, children do not know what you are doing. They do not have a clue if you are playing a game, checking email, reading a text, etc. If they see you holding a magazine, newspaper, book, or other printed resource, they can tell by the title what you are reading. Seeing what you are reading gives significance to the information you are reading. Now, your book or magazine has value. What a gift to the next generation!
What about audible sources versus printed?
This whole story began in a messenger conversation with my business coach and dear friend, Laurie Ortiz Harris. I told her my concerns with my approach to sales, when suddenly she said, “Books are out…lol”. My response was, “NO THEY ARE NOT!” She went on to say, “Everyone is in their cars listening to books and they can play it over and over and over again.” I didn’t realize at that moment that my coach what setting me up to dig a bit deeper into my business. She makes you fight and stand your ground. So, I went on in this debate. She told me that she enjoys audiobooks about three times a week, adding a sign joke, “Help me learn how to read a book LOL.” Next, she got serious and said she actually enjoys printed material as well. Her reason was you can use it to share information that you’ve highlighted yourself. What she didn’t say is how much faster it is to open a book to a page marked by a sticky paper and highlighted words than it is to open a tablet. Then open the app and find where are you stored your information. Then she suggested that I poll my avid readers to see how many would prefer listening to CDs or reading. “I like options” is what she messaged next, followed by a photo of her bookshelf PACKED with books. Of course, an “LOL” was behind that also. She predicted the outcome would be 50/50. I agreed that her prediction was reasonable because about 65% of us are visual learners and the 30% is audio. By averaging the percentages, we get 32, which is about 50% of the two combined. Before our conversation was done, Laurie had already posted a poll on Facebook. At that point, I knew it was “ON” I had to get my poll started and prove, at least to myself, that printed books are not dead, yet.
The results you see are a combination Laurie’s poll and mine over a course of six days on Facebook.
Hand held book or audial?
What is your preferred way to enjoy reading?
Printed or E-book: visual
What I learned from this is the same thing I’ve known for a long time. People have multiple intelligences and four learning styles: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic (VARK). I’m totally aware of this when teaching my students, but somehow, I was missing some things in my business presentation and products, SOUND.
My goal is to appeal to each person’s intelligence and learning style in my writing. After all, every time you read, you are learning something. I have to somehow stimulate or appeal to all senses and learning styles in printed WORDS. Added to that challenge, grow an audience of people who would enjoy my work. This will be done!
I guess I’ll go back to including stage plays and movies in my line of work. Readers and followers, I’ll get your attention, somehow. Class is in session, for the author-publisher and her audience.
Bridgette D. Williams is an educator, book publisher, an author of two novels, co-author of two non-fiction books, actress, playwright, and published poet. www.bridgettedwilliams.com
Laurie Ortiz Harris is an Independent Distributor for It Works®, Health Instructor, Business Coach, and Motivational Speaker