Thursday, February 28, 2013

9th Graders Prefer Print Books

I work in a 1:1 iPad environment. All of our 9-12 grade students have iPads. I have slowly been collecting a fiction and pleasure reading e-book library with Baker and Taylor's Axis 360. Currently my Magic Wall has about 120 books.

This semester's 9th grade students in Human Development class  have a reading assignment.  They are going to read a fiction young adult novel of their choice, as long as it has a human development-y theme (identity, sexuality, divorce, family issues, drugs, addiction, cutting, romance, teen pregnancy, etc). In a month or two we are going to have a book party with refreshments, where they will present creative interpretations of the books - slide shows, playlists, collage, painting, monologue - whatever they want to do to celebrate and share the book.

This week I have seen this as an opportunity to teach Axis360. I show them e-books in our collection to read  by Chris Crutcher,  David Levithan, and other important authors. I also have print books for the students to check out. Can you guess how many students decided to use the e-books? Answer: about three out of sixty.

The students use their iPads for so much: e-textbooks, assignments, games, everything. I thought this was a great opportunity to teach how to access our e-books, and the students checked out print books. With e-books nobody can see what you are reading, there are no real scary due dates, you won't lose the book, you can read it in the dark (on the iPad).

The teacher thought maybe they like having a print book because it becomes almost like a transitional object when they are getting really into the book. Was she comparing it to a comfort blanket? I think so, and I love the comparison! The kids are attached to the book. They don't want the book for fun to be attached to their other stressful school work, perhaps. I understand that too. 

Providing e-books for this population isn't really taking off the way I had expected. But I am a bit delighted with their attachment to the print book. 

Coming up next: The Library Overnight - will the 20 students attending want to read the free e-book book on their iPads, or do they want the print book? Find out in the next post! 


  1. That's interesting. Have you had a chance to ask the students about their preferences for print books?

  2. I did this morning - they don't like the distractions when using the iPad, and they like actually holding the book. 2/15 in this morning's class said they would read on the iPad, but then they ended up checking out print books.

  3. Do the students have textbooks on their iPad as well as novels? We are trying to decide whether to reorder textbooks or go with an iPad version of a textbook. What would you recommend?

    1. Yes, the students have about half of their textbooks on the iPads so far. Some of the novels they use on the iPads too - some of the teachers like the notetaking in the kindle app the best, but it is left up to the teacher this year to see how it all goes.
      Some of the kids like having the textbooks on the iPad, some prefer the actual print book. Our long term goal is to find more high quality e-textbooks to offer the kids, or to make our own sort of textbooks in our content management system.
      We went for quality over format this year - find the best textbook, and hopefully there will be an iPad version.