I ran across the phrase “dead-tree” books for the first time today (Nov. 24, 2011), in a Parents Magazine blog post. The magazine replayed a Nov. 20 New York TImes business story about parents—even those whose reading habits have migrated to the screen—avoiding e-books for kids under eight.
I submitted a comment to Parents Magazine about the e-book piece. I asked if “wired parents” could maintain “non-wired values” in the household. I haven’t seen it appear yet. (By the way, the month-old NYT article about Silicon Valley types putting their kids in decidedly non-wired Waldorf Schools was in the back of my mind.)
My attempt to create a conversation on the Parents Magazine site wasn’t my first. On Nov. 23, I commented on its “GoodyBlog” (blotto: “Must See. Must Do. Must Have Right Now”). That puffpost advertises a new “enhanced e-book” product created by Kideo with the collaboration of the PBS kids show “Between the Lions.” The post, “He Huffed, and He Puffed, and…He Learned How to Read!” reports that the product “allows young readers to follow along with the story using a “Read” mode that highlights each word as it is being narrated.”
Let’s pause to note the four different verbal phrases that the puffpost uses for the concept “reading:”
1) following along with the story;
2) using “Read” mode;
3) highlighting each word as it is being narrated;
and last, but not least,
4) Learning how to read (from the post title).
Parents has not yet printed my comment, in which I put the value of the product in the context of what a child would otherwise be doing. Is it a substitute for TV? For reading a p-book with an adult? I thought I was doing the conversation-creating thang pretty well by ending with “What are your pro’s and con’s?”
I’ll be waiting to see if whomever vets comments on the Parents site wants readers to “follow along with the story” of how parents make decisions to transfer stock from dead-tree reading to e-reading. Isn’t debate, or at least a judicious hand on the “approve” button for moderated blog comments, the basis of a healthy readership?
And I’m not even saying no e-book shalt ever sully my child’s eye-scan.