Paper or Electronic Books: Reading World Literature with High School Students and Staff

By Dorothy Mikuska and Marti Seaton.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Because instant access to information on the Internet has great appeal to students and is encouraged by their teachers, electronic text is taking precedence over paper. Too often learners and teachers lose sight of the value of paper sources, especially full-length books that provide the depth that does not occur when reading online or on electronic reading devices such as the iPad and Kindle. As a result of browsing and clicking, electronic readers lose the power to concentrate and reflect on global insights and experiences.
Although electronic reading seems to support efferent reading and full-length print books nurture aesthetic reading, as Nicholas Carr states in ‘The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains’ (Norton), in reality we “allow ourselves to get lost in the funhouse of endless hyperlinks” and “zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” As secondary school literacy teachers, we provide our students with a balance between electronic and print experiences—between efferent and aesthetic reading—by expanding their knowledge of stories around the world within a cultural context.
However, for over a decade we have also encouraged teachers in our school system to embrace an in-depth reading of world literature through full-length books by teaching a staff development class called Reading Around the World. Among the effects of our program, our teachers become engaged in original voices from countries unknown to them; they realize background knowledge not only of the author and style, but history and culture enhance depth of one’s reading; they see multiple perspectives that the media often reports with bias. This presentation will share the booklists, themes, resources, and discussion strategies we have found successful.

Keywords: Literacy Education, Print vs Electronic Media, Professional Development, World Literature

International Journal of the Book, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.31-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 838.999KB).

Dorothy Mikuska

Retired English teacher, English Department, Illinois, USA

Has taught English for 37 years, primarily AP English Literature and Composition, Expository Writing, and World Literature at Glenbard South High School and Riverside-Brookfield High School in the Chicago suburbs. After retirement, started ePen&Inc. to develop PaperToolsPro, online software to help students prevent plagiarism when writing research papers. In collaboration with Marti Seaton, has developed a World Literature curriculum for high school students with special focus on original voices from developing countries. This interest in world literature has developed into a 10-year staff development program for teachers at Glenbard District 87. Presenter at National Council of Teachers of English, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, Illinois School Libraries Media Association, Illinois Computing Educators, Teaching English in the Two-Year College, as well as published in Illinois English Bulletin and eSchoolNews, and Illinois Computing Educators publications. Earned BA in English from Loyola University, Chicago; MA in English from Northwestern University; and CAS in School Administration and Curriculum Development from National Louis University.

Marti Seaton

English Teacher/Instructional Coach, English Department, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, USA

Teaches AP English Language and Composition and coaches faculty in instructional strategies at Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Has taught high school English and Reading for 31 years in Glenbard District 87 and Lyons Township high schools in the Chicago suburbs. A Project CRISS trainer and National Board Master teacher as well as presenter at Illinois Association of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of English, Illinois State Library and Media Association, and International Reading Association’s Secondary Reading League. Published in the English Journal and Indiana Reading Quarterly. Earned BS in English Education from Miami University and MS in Reading and Learning Disabilities from DePaul University.


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