n Mousaion - Developing story-time : the importance of interactivity in encouraging childhood reading




The rise of electronic publishing has seen the birth of new forms for content. Popular novels are already beginning to find a comfortable home with dedicated e-book devices, where the technology is suited to representing textual content in a comfortable way. However, with highly illustrated (and often interactive) children's books a new interface is needed. Not only in terms of dynamic input and display technologies, but in terms of that interaction that defines the way in which children read. The information age may see the creation of books in variable formats, with the intention of recreating the immersive nature of story-time.

Currently, with the impact (and penetration) of smart-phones (and recently tablet computers), new electronic reading platforms are increasingly being made available on the new idea of software as applications. This allows for the development of books not simply as visual and textual entities, but as operable tools which need not be limited to the idea of rich iPad applications. Titles can be adapted for Java-compliant mobile phones as well as via simple text systems. The idea should not be to create superb software, but rather stories that involve the young reader as much as a game would. By integrating the interactive nature of modern technologies with the story of the book, the reading experience can become more involving. It is through such efforts that children may be nurtured towards literacy, while staying in touch with technological advancements.


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