"Born Digital" Texts


  • [W]hen we say “digital texts,” we do in fact mean born-digital texts, not just the PDF versions of texts meant for print that we discussed in the last chapter. Traditionally, comprehension strategies have focused on annotating, responding/discussing, analyzing, and evaluating words on paper, and it is possible for us to share tools that will simply substitute what we have always done with a fancy tool that does essentially the same thing for born-digital texts. (Turner and Hicks, Connected Reading, p 99)

More than just a book put on screen, more than just a website, more than just a video... texts that are "born digital" require the reader/viewer/listener to participate in an interactive, screen-based experience. Comprehension is not limited to words in textual format alone and, indeed, require the
reader/viewer/listener to engage with the text in an active, meaningful, and meaning-making manner. Here are some examples that we have found engaging and we invite you to contribute to the list.

Additional Resources


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Inanimate Alice


Under development since 2005 and with still some way to go, the Inanimate Alice series provides an exciting story with embedded puzzles, mini-games and a rich trove of digital assets that teachers, students, parents... everyone can enjoy.

Inanimate Alice is an ongoing born-digital novel, an interactive multimodal fiction, relating the experiences of Alice and her imaginary digital friend, Brad.

Appropriate for upper elementary students and up​
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Snowfall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek


Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” by New York Times reporter John Branch, tells the harrowing story of skiers caught in an avalanche.

Appropriate for high school students and up​

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The Boat


"The Boar," an interactive graphic novel about escape after the Vietnam War. Based on the story by Nam Le, adapted by Matt Huynh.

Appropriate for upper elementary students and up​