Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Reading and Writing Digital Texts: Why and How Students Should Engage with eBooks, RSS Readers, and Transmedia Stories


English Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range





Over the past decade, the publishing industry has been transformed by ebooks, which have dramatically changed the way texts are published, distributed, read, and written. From ereaders such as the Kindle and Nook to media tablets such as the iPad and Galaxy, digital devices have made reading ebooks easy and affordable. Additionally, the number of apps for tablets and smartphones that curate and organize reading materials continues to grow, as does the content available for reading. Much of this new reading content crosses media boundaries. Henry Jenkins coined the phrase transmedia storytelling to describe the interactive, multimodal works such as 39 Steps (Faber) and Frankenstein (Inkle) that carry our students from print to screen and back again. While schools are trailing the general population in the use of ereading hardware and software, more devices and more digital content is arriving in schools every day. Though significant obstacles must be overcome before e-readers or tablets become as popular as school laptops,it is clear that e-readers and digital texts will play a large role in the future of English and English language arts. So where are English teachers and English educators to begin? This panel presentation provides answers to this critical question. It begins by drawing on recent research to paint a picture of adolescent readers in a digital age. From there, it offers a typology of ebooks, explaining the key features and affordances of the most popular ebook hardware, software, and publishing platforms. Finally, the presentation provides a range of practical strategies for integrating ebooks into the classroom and a review of multimodal composing tools such as Vine and vlogs. Throughout the session, panelists will reflect on their own practices as digital readers and writers, examining how ebooks have introduced new genres and new audiences for reading and writing, encouraged multimodal composition, fostered the integration of multimedia content, and expanded the materials available to our students.

Conference Name

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Conference

Conference Location

Washington DC

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