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Learning and the E-Generation by Lee Farrington-Flint, Jean D. M. Underwood

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Chapter Four E-books, E-Readers and Tablets, Are they the Way Forward?

Introduction

Computers are transforming the way in which people interact with the written word not just through online communications, like Twitter or Facebook, but also through the accessibility of digitized texts. Learners, and the public in general, now have access to a proliferation of texts online, from e-books to web pages. As a result, the death of the traditional printed text has been heavily discussed (see Birkets, 2006) and these deliberations show no sign of abating. There may be growing substance in this assertion concerning the printed book. For example, Amazon.com reported in April 2011 that for every 100 print books it sold, it sold 105 Kindle books1. Reading electronic books on the iPad or tablet device is not just for social pleasure; it can also have an effect on the way in which formal literacy skills are taught within schools, particularly with a growth in computerized educational materials, such as electronic books, e-readers and tablet devices, which offer new and powerful tools for teaching literacy skills.

The ability to read and comprehend textual information remains a crucial skill. It is a core skill underpinning all aspects of education as well as society in general. Reading refers not just to the ability to decode individual words on a written page, but relates to our ability to decipher written text with appropriate speed and expression (fluency) and to understand what ...

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