Meghan Cox Gurdon, in the Wall Street Journal, has written a marvelous essay extolling the pleasures and fruits of reading aloud, especially within families. Her words relate to the work of teachers, as well, because teachers sit in an analagous position to parents and storytellers. All face the same questions: How do we relate to technology? What do we lose when we outsource our work? An excerpt:
Wait, I hear an irritated chorus say, what’s so bad about the iPad? What about all those zippy interactive storybooks that tiny kids can “read” to themselves? And what about audio books—are they bad, too? IPads and audio books have their virtues, but they don’t have warm arms, they can’t share a joke, and they haven’t any knowledge of, or interest in, a particular child. In the case of recorded stories, they can’t answer questions or observe a child’s puzzlement and know to pause and explain what, say, a “charabanc” is. They most certainly won’t re-read Mr. Toad’s brilliant insults for a listener who wants to memorize them.