Chambersburg students getting hooked on Kindles

February 01, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE |
  • Colton Smith, left, and Tayshona Fletcher read Tuesday in the library at Chambersburg Area Middle School. The students are using Kindle e-readers.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — All through the week at the Chambersburg Area Middle School, groups of kids are getting more excited to go to the library.

But not to check out any conventional textbook — they're reading on Kindles.

Kindles are hand-held e-reading devices about the same size as a book.

Sixth-grade students from the boys' Kindle reading club, Linda Martin's learning support class and Emily Strite's English language learners group were all sitting around tables inside the library Monday afternoon, each of them with a Kindle in their hands.

"They really like it," sixth-grade librarian Teresa Miller said before the kids scurried in. "It really appeals to them."

Chambersburg students growing up in a tech-savvy generation are now using Kindles and other portable e-book readers to get interested in reading, and it's helping improve their proficiency in the process, according to Joanne Hammond, head librarian of the district.

Using 35 e-reading devices, the high school has seen improvements in students' PSSA reading scores in just the first full school year, Hammond said.

"They spent all of last year with Kindle clubs with the reluctant readers and they had phenomenal results," Hammond said. "They tracked the progress of the students and so many of them read so many books by the end of the year because they liked reading on the Kindle much better (than) the print book."

Not only can users of Kindles download complete books in seconds, several built-in features — like a dictionary and a text-to-speech option that reads words aloud — are helping students become real e-page turners.

"I can attest that many of our reluctant readers are much more motivated to read via the Kindle than through typical print books," said CASHS librarian Melissa Engel-Unruh, adding that her "gadget-centric teens have embraced the use of Kindles."

CASHS currently has the most e-readers in the district with 30 Kindles, three Kindle DXs and two Nooks, but 40 others are in use at the middle school (28) and Faust Junior High School (12).

With potential opportunities for grant money, Hammond said the district also is working to bring e-readers to students at the elementary level.

The sixth-grade Kindle clubbers in the CAMS library Monday sounded more like Kindle sellers than the enthusiastic readers that they have become because of the device.

"I like using the Kindles because you can get books that the library doesn't have," said Byshawn Mincie.

Katie Brown said, "When you're ready to flip a page, you just have to push a button."

"You won't get a paper cut, either," Doris Monzon said.


What the kids are saying...

Chambersburg (Pa.) Area Middle School sixth-graders talk about reading on Kindles:

“The Kindle is awesome because somehow it makes it easier to read.”

— Wyatt Hill

“I like reading on Kindles because we can read together with technology.”

— Isaac Hull

“I like reading on Kindles because it’s a whole new experience for me, and they are just very interesting for me and my club.”

— Isaiah Walton

“I like reading on the Kindles because we don’t have to search for the book in the library.”

— Christopher Yost

“I’ve read like three (books) already.”

— Kayla Roles

“I like the Kindle because you can look up words in the dictionary.”

— Jonathan Saldan

“It does improve your reading … you can save your money too on (buying) books.”

— Kyle Gilbert

 “I like the Kindle because you don’t have to turn pages and you can read with one hand.”

— Rene Quintanilla

“I like using Kindles because a book looks thick and Kindles look smaller.”

— Vianelys Rentas
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