The allusion in the title for this post is another from Shakespeare. Hamlet, in response to a question about what he is reading, responds with it. And I worry that perhaps reading is coming down to this sort of response amidst all of the CCSS craziness and the new "technologies" entering into the fray. Now it is Curriculet (formerly Gobstopper which at least had a literary reference). The name sounded to me as though it might be a medical tool, and perhaps that first thought was correct. Read all about Curriculet, the latest offering that will cure all your reading ills, here: http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2013/11/k-12/curriculet-formerly-gobstopper-partners-harpercollins-offer-enriched-ebooks-schools/. Curriculet allows teachers to insert all manner of items into an eBook (purchased through one vendor, HarperCollins). The company anticipated questions thusly: “One of the first things people ask is, ‘Won’t it hurt the reading experience to be interrupted?’ What we’ve seen is the exact opposite,” according to Singer. “Most readers need to stop and check to see if they understand. This gives them the chance to stop and take a breath and engage more deeply. Some public schools have gone a step further than we imagined,” Singer adds. “They created a period during the day when everyone reads on Curriculet,” either school-assigned reading or titles of their choice, often for silent reading sessions."
Wow, silent reading has now become reading with interruptions to make sure kids hit CCSS standards. Reading for pleasure is now reading with guidance from Curriculet and interference from teachers. How long will it be until kids truly do equate reading with words, words, words and not with personal response, aesthetic response? Before titles that kids love (GONE, WALK TWO MOONS, BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA) become texts that create cringing responses on the part of the most avid reader?
I compare something like this to SUBTEXT, an app that permits readers to stop and comment, question, annotate at will. Here it is the reader in charge (though the teacher can pose questions and make comments as well). But aside from who is in control, there are other considerations:
1. How is access granted? Is it inside of the classroom only? What about kids who do not have access outside of school? Are we still creating and supporting a two tiered system?
2. Where is the human interaction? This reminds me of many of the other panaceas I have seen touted that put a program in charge of reading (and this is just an extension of Read 180 and AR in any event).
3. How much does all this cost? Follow the money.
As I noted yesterday, I am left with many questions and a growing mound of concerns that schools will buy into this and other programs without questioning the costs.