The story goes something like this. Imagine a 9-year-old who remembers a little later than is strictly convenient that they need to read a book for class. Your first port of call is the local library, but all the copies have been checked out. You ask around if anyone has a copy and find out that there’s an ebook available. The child needs to read the book as soon as possible. What do you do?
This story, which I recently heard, made me think about my preferred mode of reading and those of the people around me. I’d always assumed our views were similar or at the very least would not generate controversy, but then a new thought popped into my head: I actually had no idea if this was true. I was especially interested in whether adults felt any differently about their preferred mode of reading and that which they recommended to (their) children, and why this might be the case.
I asked the questions below on Facebook and received several very interesting, detailed and thoughtful responses. As the post is private, I didn’t embed it here, nor am I going to discuss the responses, but I am curious to hear what you think and was hoping some thoughts would be shared in the comment section here as well.
In addition to the original questions, I wanted to add a few more:
- What would you do in the story in the opening paragraph if you were the parent or if the 9-year-old was a family member or the child of a (close) friend? (I am interested in whether it might be easier to be supportive of format variety in principle as opposed to when you have a particular child in mind).
- What do you think are country-specific differences, if any?
- What impact, if any, do you believe parents’ preferences in terms of book format might have on their children at some point down the line?
I should add that when I asked the questions I didn’t have language learning in mind, but reading (for pleasure), but another question might be if you prefer a particular format for language learning and why.