Reading Electronic Books


Ryan Geertsma and Liz Waid look at the growing use of electronic books. Can this technology help people learn to read?

Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Ryan Geertsma.

Voice 2

And I'm Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3

"The storyteller stands next to the fire dancing, acting, singing and repeating a story. Listening to him is a crowd of men, women, and children...In a mountain rainforest of the Congo, a village hears again the story of its favourite hero – Mwindo, the one born walking, the one born talking..."

Voice 1

These words introduce a story called "The Magic Flyswatter." The story is about a young boy who is a superhero. He has powers most humans do not have. "The Magic Flyswatter" is one of many stories told in Congolese culture. And today, it is helping people learn to read. An organization named Worldreader is using stories like "The Magic Flyswatter" to encourage reading. However, they are not using printed paper books. Instead, they are using new electronic books.

Voice 2

Reading is a powerful skill. It can help people learn a lot of new information - information that can change their lives. For many years, organizations like "Books for Africa," and "Better World Books," have provided books for communities in need. These organizations serve communities that have low reading rates or few books. They ship books to these communities, using donated money.

Voice 1

This model has worked. Recently, however, a few organizations have attempted to use a new model. They are using a new technology called electronic readers. Electronic readers, or e-readers, are small computers designed just for reading.

Voice 2

Using e-readers has many benefits. For example, it costs a lot of money to send books internationally. E-readers cost money to buy, but they do no cost a lot of money to send. And when a community or a family has an e-reader, there are many free or low-cost electronic books they can read.

Voice 1

For a village with few books, e-readers can offer many more literature choices. Normally, paper books are sent in large boxes to villages. A village does not choose the particular books they receive, so these books may not interest them. With an e-reader, people can choose from over 700,000 electronic books or e-books. So they can find the books that interest them.

Voice 2

A popular e-reader, known as the Kindle, also includes a dictionary. This means if people read a word they do not understand, they can look for the meaning of the word. The organization Worldreader is one organization that uses e-readers. It recently completed an e-reader test project in the country of Ghana. The students involved in the test had previous experience using mobile phones, but they had never used computers. Many students reported the e-readers were easy to use.

Voice 1

Another benefit of e-readers is their mobility. People can put books on their e-readers and carry them around anywhere. An e-reader with ten e-books is still a light weight – much lighter than carrying around ten paper books. So, students learning to read can take their e-books anywhere. Books are also easy to organize on e-readers.

Voice 2

However, all of the exciting advantages of e-readers and e-books present problems as well. For example, e-readers like the Kindle were not created to help people learn to read. Instead, they were created as a way to read without using paper books. Many e-books are for advanced readers – they use words that would not be understood by people learning how to read. And, the dictionary on the Kindle can be difficult to understand for basic learners.

Voice 1

Worldreader also found another problem during their test project in Ghana. Many students did not understand the cultures they read about in the e-books. This is because most of the books are from Western writers, and about Western culture.

Voice 2

E-readers have technical problems as well. For example, people must be able to use the Internet to choose e-books. But the Internet is not available everywhere. Even in areas that have the Internet, it is not always working. E-readers also require electricity. But many of the communities that lack books also lack electricity.

Voice 1

But Worldreader is looking for solutions to these problems. With the companies that make e-readers, they want to create an e-reader just for people learning to read. In fact, they have already found solutions to many of the problems.

Voice 2

One example is electricity. E-readers may require electricity, but they do not require a lot of it. This is because they are smaller than computers and are only used for reading. For example, a one hour charge can last for two weeks! Even in very small villages, services already exist for charging mobile phones. These services could also charge e-books.

Voice 1

Another example has to do with Internet service. E-readers like the Kindle can use the Internet with mobile phone technology. This means people can search for books and put those books on their Kindle e-reader without using a traditional Internet connection.

Voice 2

Organizations like Worldreader are also trying to increase the number of e-books written in different languages and by authors from different cultures. The story from the beginning of this program was called "The Magic Flyswatter." This story was used by Worldreader in their Ghana test project. Although this is a Congolese story, it was written by an Australian named Aaron Shepard.

Voice 1

Worldreader wants to help writers from every culture to have their books offered on e-readers. Already, people can purchase books by African writers, such as, "My Brother the Footballer," by Diana McBagonluri and "The Storyteller," by Nana Ama Afoa Osae. They can also find "White Tiger," by Indian writer Aravind Adiga, "Gate of the Sun," by Lebanese writer Elias Khoury and many more.

Voice 2

People are always creating and discovering new ways to help people learn to read. Organizations like Worldreader believe e-books and e-readers are the new best way to help people learn about the power of reading. David Risher is one of the people who created Worldreader. He told the Wall Street Journal newspaper,

Voice 4

"It is important that people understand that this program is not just for education. It is something that can be used for fun. The long term goal is that technology will help create a reading culture in parts of the world where that has not been possible before."

Voice 1

Do you think e-reader technology can change a community's culture of reading? Do you believe it can encourage people to read more? Tell us what you think. You can e-mail us at radio@radioenglish.net, or leave a comment on our website.

Voice 2

The writer of this program was Corrie Haluga. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can find this program and others on our website at www.Radio.English.net. This program is called "Reading Electronic Books." We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

Question:

Have you ever read a book electronically, on a mobile phone, e-reader or computer? Do you like to read books this way?

Comments


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witchdalat
said on February 21, 2011

Indeed, e-book have many advantages to own by anyone. However, book in traditionality alsonhas an only value that can’t replace. You purchase a book to present to your friend it is more significant than send an e-book, you feel happy when reading a book that has a signature of the writer, you find book in liabrary is more interesting in than on internet or e-reader. to sum up, i like both book and e-book, it is up to time,state of mind,condition of circumstain to choose a suitable book.

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Come_to_Daddy
said on February 22, 2011

It is very helpful tool. Has it bad effect for eyes? Reading spends much time, and ray is bad for eyes. I don’t like read from computer.

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Come_to_Daddy
said on February 22, 2011

But I wan’t buy e-book.

adin's avatar
adin
said on February 22, 2011

E-book seems very interesting. it’s all in one. It brings the old library in one hand. But the gadget is not affordable for many people, me too. it’s so sad.

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GelezniyDen
said on February 24, 2011

Yes i think this is very useful technology for example it can replace 10 or 100 books in your bag or on you shelf like flesh (usb) i can take 10 disks in my car or one USB flash and listen music. But exist people who don’t like that books they told me that they want touch book and also the books have nice smell and the books don’t require electricity. But i think that electronic books in future replace normal books like disks replaced cassette for listening music and watching movies.

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witchdalat
said on February 24, 2011

touch book or e-book is only a tool to store and transmis knowledge from one to another, from this country to another one, from this generation to others,...so, with the information increase in geometric progression age like now,e-book is the priority choice because of convenient, updating, being cheap,...But i think normal book never is replaced by e-book because of historical, rare, its value.

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nguyentruc
said on March 21, 2012

I have e-book, I work on computer all day. Nowday I know e-book is usedful. But when I have free time, I will read books ^.^. So, I agree with Witchdalat “Normal book never is replace by e-book”. Thank Spotlight, I like this problem.

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yeutienganh120888
said on March 22, 2012

I think that E- book is useful for people to read and get information .There are more people reading on E- books but traditional books will be never replaced at all.Reading book is a favor,lives of someone.

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42flatscreentvok
said on March 23, 2012

helpful e-book :)

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NightlyOwl
said on May 15, 2012

I love to read a lot. My bag is often torn because of the number of books that I was carrying. And until recently I was supporter of classical paper books. But I decided to try the e-book. And you know what? I fell in love. I found a lot of advantages, including I read the literature what could not found in bookstores. Now, I’m for the use of electronic books.

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QuangTrang
said on September 08, 2014

E-reader is more cheaper and easier to keep beside a person than traditional book. Since internet grew up, people can read many books from many cultures and can percieve many informations. But from internet have side effect, many young people interest internet for funny, even for sex, after that they were affected on what they whatched. For example. Traditional sex had changed in Vietnam, young man think have sex before marrying is not important, so many young women have pregnance without wanted, some of them killed the baby in their womb, after that some of them have a cyst in their ovary or can not have pregnancy again.

natasoul's avatar
natasoul
said on September 09, 2014

I think that e-books ia very important who like new technology and they are useful for people that like to travel a lot. i like to read very much and never changeing real book for e-book. because i want to touch book and they really have nice smell and it is historical,rare and they have a big value and no e-book can not be compared with book. Thanks for this interesting and cognitive story. i think this knowledge will help me in the future.))

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NominalMan
said on September 11, 2014

A Kindle will not take any Xray to the eyes, so no matter they care about it :D

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Mss Flamboyant
said on September 11, 2014

I prefer to reading paper book to electronic-book.  It does not harm eyes, help reader keen on reading and imagining.

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Dela
said on September 11, 2014

In my opinion, the clasic paper books can never be compared or even replaced with the electronic books and I do not suppose this technology represents a necessity helping people learn to read. Nothing can replace the amazing smell of the old books bound in skin just as the silk touch of paper, the magic rustling of pages. However, the progress in literature still continues. E-books begin to become the modern matter slowly, I believe that new wave may be useful, important to some people, moreover, all of us have a possibility to choose the method that will be the most satisfactory to us. I enjoy reading of classical paper books very much and I will never cease from reading it.
Thanks for the great topic!

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NominalMan
said on September 12, 2014

There are too many Vietnameses In this topic :D

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Green Kale
said on September 12, 2014

Generally speaking, e book has lots of upsides. For instance, Kindle, you can search or read the abundance of books, they even have dictionaries. If I were the one who created this app, I would add one more function to this app that it could read any contexts or paragraphs. That way, people can learn how to pronounce correctly. I’m in college now, and thanks to e book that I can save a lot of money instead of buying hard copy books are double cost. They are very convenience and so easy to carry around, instead carry tons of books on your shoulder.
However, look at the downsides, Spotlight was right, not everywhere has electricity and wifi or internet as well. And when your electronic low battery, it gonna shut down, what if you don’t have a charger and you really need to read at that time. Otherwise, you have to buy an electronic device to download those apps, and they’re all not easy money at first. Instead, you can read a hard copy book everywhere you want, no matter the conditions, and it won’t hurt your eyes like the electronic devices do to your eyes.
On the other hand, using e book, youth easy to read some inappropriate books. But with hard copy, they may have control and hesitate when buying those books.

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MoniqueGomes
said on September 14, 2014

The e-reader technology is very easy for transportation and I can have many books in few space, but I still prefer paper books!I like to feel the paper rsrsrs

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fetabazade
said on February 11, 2015

If choosing e-books from popular and funny literatures these project can bu useful for reading habit. Some examples, Dostoevski: Crime and punishment , Charles Dickens: David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Edgar Ellan Poe:  Short stories, Balzac: Le Père Goriot, Villager, Ömer Seyfettin: Currycomb, Ransom, Pink pirl robe and etc.
More important thing is funny literatures then method for reading love…

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windy7012
said on July 12, 2016

I prefer to read printed paper books but English books in my country (Vietnam) is not really available. I will have to spend lots of money to buy English books and take my time to find the one I want. So, i choose to read books online instead. I started reading books via some apps in my smartphone but it isn’t really interesting. the reason is that the screen of the phone is small that makes me tired soon. Also, i have to look up new words in dictionaries which is quite inconvenient. After all, reading books in computers is my final solution. To anyone who have the same choose as mine, i recommend you install “Lingoes dictionary” which allows you to look up words easily with its ” click and see” function.