Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The students and I talked about some of our favorite books like Julie of the Wolves, Eragon, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and The Hobbit. We also discussed the changing world of reading due to the fast-paced Internet. I am finding that people today prefer shorter sentences, simpler phrases, and crisper dialogue. I believe this is due to the trend of reading small computer screens very quickly. Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson would surely have to edit their manuscripts these days. Classic children's literature is very wordy compared to contemporary children's literature. Still, I think young readers in the 21st Century appreciate thoughtful, powerful writing. Readers tend to quest for ideas and insights. Not every reflection can be conveyed in a few words. Computer screens compel the viewer to think is short bursts. Opinions and reactions crystalize almost spontaneously, in order to filter the wide field of bombarding Internet information. As technology changes, reading and thinking transform to match the pace of communication.
As we watched the book trailer for the Ghost Horse Hollow adventure series on the overhead projector, I thought about how important it was in today's book market to provide visual stimulation. Our modern world conveniently showers the average reader with pictures, video clips, and tantalizing commercials. The students at Lewis and Clark Middle School reminded me, however, that good readers will always enjoy creating their own pictures inside their minds. The infinite world of the imagination is yet alive and well. These curious, bright 7th and 8th Graders, and their marvelous librarian Elizabeth Waddington, are still devoted to good books and thoughtful writing. I am blessed to have visited with them. May the Ghost Horses continue to gallop for the Earth and bring great entertainment as well as good ideas to young readers around the globe!