1. Balancing informational and literacy text. According to Harvey, there are now many education textbook publishers that provide materials in eBook form, as well as newspapers that provide their stories digitally. For literacy texts, eBooks have been on the forefront for quite some time thanks to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other national sellers.
Districts looking to invest specifically in nonfiction current events texts can even compile a digital list of articles online and then compile these articles in an eBook format. For more information, read “How to create your own eTextbooks for Common Core.”
2. Knowledge in the disciplines. Teachers, explained Harvey, can take full advantage of spanning texts across disciplines with the help of eBooks, because “many teachers have been asking for nonfiction in the form of stories.”
For example, a social studies teacher can use the nonfiction biography of Sir Isaac Newton to not only highlight historical context, but can be used in both mathematics and science classes as examples of basic theory.
“eBooks can provide a wealth of knowledge that can span across disciplines where printed textbooks, usually developed for one specific subject, cannot,” explained Harvey.
3. Staircase of complexity. One of the requirements for ELA Common Core is that students read more complex texts, “which can be a daunting task for teachers already burdened with remedial tasks,” said Harvey.
Many features associated with eBooks can help students better understand complex texts without becoming frustrated or relying on extra assistance from teachers. For example, students can highlight text to hear pronunciation and read a definition. In many cases, students can highlight a phrase, term, or place and the eBook will guide them to an internet search.
“Thanks to many of the interactive and web-connected features associated with eBooks, like video, links, and audio, students can take responsibility for their own learning and teachers can better spend time on task,” noted Harvey.
4. Text-based answers and writing from sources. As part of the new standards, many students are required to use parts of text to include in their answers in order to validate their arguments. Perhaps one of the most overlooked benefits of eBooks is their ability to stop students from inadvertently destroying school property.
“I can’t tell you how many times students use a highlighter on textbooks, rip out pages to keep for projects, or use pen to take notes in margins,” said Harvey. “With eBooks’ functionality, students can highlight, take notes, reference pages, and even include their own hyperlinks to more texts within the text without damaging anything. That’s a huge sigh of relief not just for librarians, but for other students, as well.”
(Next page: Vocabulary, assessments, and future considerations)