Recently, a friend of mine posted the following on Facebook: “I don’t know if it is a good or bad thing that my Nook is reading to [my son].”
I responded that it depends on what said Nook is reading to son. Dr. Seuss? Not horrible. Cosmopolitan magazine? Maybe we have an issue.
But here’s the thing. The fact that an electronic reader is reading to a little boy is not all bad. That little boy is still being exposed to words, images, literature (and, we hope, good nuggets of all that). At least he is being read to.
Later on, my friend posted another comment on the same Facebook thread: “It just occurred to me that I don’t want that to be the future…where we don’t even read to our kids anymore because the computer does it for them.”
So I started wondering, how many people still take time to read to their kids? When was the last time you read something out loud?
And then I thought: Is a computer reading out loud really a bad thing?
I was shocked (and here, I expose my terrible naiveté) to learn recently that many people don’t read emails in their entirety anymore.
I tend to think in thorough, fleshed-out paragraphs whenever I have something big in the works. If I am planning a writer’s group meeting, or a family dinner, or a series of interviews with folks from my hometown, I put together elaborate, well thought out emails that I send to dozens of people, emails that beg for response and communication.
I am usually lucky to hear back from two or three people in my long line of email recipients.
Am I just a bad writer? I wonder. Am I a boring person?
No and no. People just don’t have time – or don’t make time – to return the communication efforts.
If the communication front is like this with email, what is it like when it comes to words and stories with our families at home?
My friend was astute in her observation about her son’s Nook discovery. He was hungry – for adventure, for entertainment, you name it – and he discovered a world of words. It just wasn’t through the voice of his mom or dad.
I will never say that anything beats a loved one’s voice when it comes to little ones and reading. But if it’s between a Nook or nothing, I would take the Nook any day.
Warning: Technology is bad, if we let it dig its fingers too intricately into our lives. But if we take time to notice, it can create and harness some beautiful moments, too.
*When you hear the word “technology,” what comes to your mind? Does this term evoke a positive connotation, or a negative one?