Today I spent some time at the New York Public Library. A couple of things immediately jumped out at me. Of the 9 children sitting in the library when I first arrived, 7 were using computers, phones, or some other type of electronic device. I felt an equal sense of excitement and distaste. Electronics are helpful, support many types of learners, provide easy access to extensive information, and are the language of the future. But few of the children were using books for reference or enjoyment. Reading through the table of contents, index, and paragraphs of information, provides experiences and knowledge that may not be found in a Google search. Getting lost in a story is wonderful. As time went on, I also noticed quite a few children nuzzled into the crook of a caregivers’ arm and cuddled on chairs. They were reading and being read to, asking questions, and experiencing the joy of a good book and interaction.
There is immense value in both electronics and books. I believe it is essential that they are not mutually exclusive and that neither one replaces the connection that takes place when children interact with each other and with adults.