Educators getting students to read electronically

Educators getting students to read electronically

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(Photo: Courtesy AP)

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Democratic Leadership Council recently made a call for every student to have an electronic book reader. They call it "A Kindle in Every Backpack."

It seems most school districts are a long way away from doing anything like that, but the Granite District was recently able to buy 150 of them.

"We love the Kindles. They have some great features. One is the dictionary right in it; the other is the portability," said James Henderson, director of instructional technology and library services for the Granite District.

Henderson says the Kindles were originally for library staff in the elementary schools. Budget cuts meant they had to do away with certified librarians; the Kindles help with that.

They are also saving money. Henderson says each title download costs $10, whereas a new hardback or paperback can be up to $30. Plus, each title comes with six copyrights, so he expects that by next year they will have 7,000 electronic books available for reading.

"We wanted to get people reading, because we know -- with students too -- the more you read, the better your literacy skills," Henderson said.

The Kindles are now starting to be used in some classrooms at Cyprus High School and Eisenhower Junior High School. Henderson says the students think they are cool, and they like how they can look up a word in the dictionary on the device without any of their peers having to know about it.

Henderson says the Kindle would be much lighter than a backpack full of books, but these do not go home with the students.

There is some debate among educators about moving to electronic book readers. They can't decide between the iPod Touch, a cell phone or Kindle-type device. Henderson says the main obstacle right now is copyright concerns, because, for now, the textbooks they need are not yet available.


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