Connected Reading in Practice

As readers of the digital age, there is an increasing variety of choices of when, where, and how we read texts, as well as how we share texts. We all make conscious choices depending on availability and preferences, and most of us cross boundaries between print and digital text throughout our lives.

Dalton and Proctor's chapter The Changing Landscape of Text and comprehension in the Age of New Literacies (2008), articulates four different types of "digital texts." While these forms do not neatly map out every definition for digital texts, these should be referred to as a great starting point.

  1. Linear Text in Digital Format
    These include, but are not limited to, reading books through the Project Gutenberg site, Apple's iBook store, and the free Kindle library

  2. Non-Linear Text with Hyperlinks
    Unlike linear texts, these must be read digitally to fully appreciate its use of hyperlinks. It is important as educators to let students know how to safely navigate these links while taking advantage of additional readings and resources linked to each resource.

  3. Text with Integrated Media
    These texts are similar to websites when thinking about the interactive features of audio and video that are necessary to understand what is being read. They are not simply there for technological enhancement!

    Inanimate Alice and Snow Fall are great examples of interactive texts with entertaining media."

  4. Text with Response Options
    Response options are available on most digital texts, including options to comment and post. These are valuable since these types of communication options create a bigger network for sharing and exchanging valuable information and interesting facts.

Two students have been interviewed and both have shown to be a great example of readers that make conscious choices between print and digital texts. Let's take a look at their reading choices and valuable digital tools:

Trevor (Sophomore)

Trevor, like many students, enjoys reading from his computer screen, but sometimes gets distracted by social media and various links. To reduce his distractions, he makes conscious choices such as doing "homework first" and working on his iPad. He also uses the "Parent App" to keep him on task. After completing homework, Trevor uses Google and Yahoo searches to find additional information. He balances his academics and out of school reading by switching between print and digital texts.

Sienna (9th Grader)

After getting a Kindle, Sienna has used this as her primary reading tool. She borrows books online, but still purchases her favorite books in print copy. One of her favorite series is Harry Potter and takes advantage of Pottermore which is a website that provides background information on the series. She also acknowledges the benefits of both print and digital texts and makes conscious choices as well. Her encounter with Jane Austen's adaptations on YouTube also inspired her to read Pride and Prejudice.

While these digital tools and reading options are useful, they can be quite overwhelming. To better understand how reading on the web and through apps work, we recommend watching cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch's "The Machine is Us/Using Us (Final Version)" (2007)."

Below are some applications to view digital text in different formats and options:

Below is a visual example of the same blog post using Evernote Clearly, Feedly, and Pocket.

Table 3.4 contains summaries on each app as well as their compatibility with browsers and similar options.



Sharing Texts Digitally

When reading print versions, these can still be shared via digital tools. These can simply be taking a snapshot of the text and sharing that version online.

How is all this related to Connected Reading?

Figures 3.7 and 3.8 are helpful in understanding the process of Connected Reading when it comes to digital texts and how sharing digitally creates a vast network with multiple choices to make.


To read Chapter 3 online click the link below:
Connected Reading in Practice