Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Different types of reading experiences for different types of learners

We all learn differently, it’s true. Some of us learn best when we are told, others when we are shown, some when we practice, and others, well, they need a lot of practice, often trial & error.
The same is true of reading. Some of us like to read with our eyes, others with our ears, some of us prefer the movie adaption, and some just don’t’ read much or often.

Whichever way you like to read or learn, there’s a type of reading experience out there for you.
Books in covers, hard & soft, are a pleasure to read. They stimulate the physical sense of touch while tantalizing the reader with their typefaces, page layout, and pictures or illustrations. These books fill your hand or your lap, grow heavy over time, and, if really excellent, are devoured in a long lazy afternoon.

E-books provide a similar experience to physical books if you let them. The reader has weight as it rests in your hand or lap. You can vary the typeface, the size of the print, the color, and even the number of pages. Illustrations appear if your device permits. While you can mark your place, and highlight ideas, the marginalia isn’t the same as that in a physical book, unless you “share” it.

Audio books are ear candy, at least I think so. I love reading with my ears. If the narrator is skilled, his or her voice disappears into the background and the story moves forward behind your eyes. You can get so wrapped up in the story that you miss your exit on the interstate, or, as is my usual experience, my weekly 2 ½ hour commute (each way) evaporates as I experience the adventure I’m reading. Audio books come in all flavors, from dramatized to dramatic, from single voices to many, in every genre and for every age group. If you want to experience a YA audio book, check out this summer for classic novels paired with Teen fiction.

For all year round, there are movie adaptations (pairing books and movies or TV shows together) such as “Game of Ice & Snow” “Pillars of the Earth”, even the Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter. Each movie adaptation is a chance to turn on a new reader to the joys of reading. Which was better, the book or the movie? Does it really matter?

Maybe your choice of reading material depends upon your mood. Take time to read a little bit every day. If you cannot find the energy to read with your eyes, read with your ears. Listen to a good book, a poem, a short story. Expose yourself to new ways of reading and enjoying literature. 

I try to read for pleasure for 10 minutes every morning and every evening. It's important and it keeps you in touch with what your patrons are exploring and enjoying. If you cannot read books, read book reviews, listen to NPR's book podcasts , or audiopolis, audiobook reviews from Audiofile magazine . You'd be surprised how much fun it is to disconnect from school and explore.

How do you engage your senses when you read?

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