Friday, October 5, 2012

Module 3: Rhymes of History: The Evolution of Stories

Whether one is a young child or an older adult, few people can resist a good story.  Stories have been around seemingly since the beginning of time. There is evidence of stories being shared as early as 15000 B.C. (Lockett, 2007).  In the Pyrenees Mountains, children found drawings in the Lascaux Caves. More than 2,000 figures that were painted in a narrative fashion of animals and other creatures.  Scientists who carbon dated the place believes that these narrative paintings were created around 1500 to 1300 B.C. (Lockett, 2007).  All over the world and throughout history, stories have been used to entertain and to explain.  Through the sharing of stories, people were able to “pass on wisdom, knowledge, and culture through the generations” (Lockett, 2007, p. 2). 

The concept of recording stories has been around as long as they have been shared.  Paintings on rocks, cuneiform found on tablets, hieroglyphics on papyrus (Lockett, 2007), written word on paper and now text on eReaders and other handheld devices (Barnard, 1999).  Since the first mechanically printed book first emerged around 1452 (Barnard, 1999), the technology of printing books has evolved drastically.  In 1999 Barnard accurately predicted that we will be reading books in handheld electronic book readers.  He described the quality of the screen as well as the ability to navigate through the stories, search, and use the device similar to a printed book (Barndard, 1999). 

The popularity of eReaders has begun to emerge into classrooms. Fourth grade teacher, Julie Kaplan, writes grants for Kindles through Donors Choose so individuals and companies can fund her project.  She has been quite successful and has received nine Kindle eReaders for her classroom with the desire for more.  Her students enjoy reading stories using the Kindle eReader.  She also helps assist her students in purchasing their own Kindles.  Kaplan is a huge fan of the Kindle and enjoys spending her leisure time reading books through this device.   

After a recent move, I downsized my book collection of over 200 plus books in exchange for an iPod Touch that has different apps for books.  I enjoy having the easy access to my books day or night.  Back in 2007, Brewster Kahle spoke about his desire to have a free digital library available to everyone that included every single book ever published.  Mobile devices are making it even easier for people to access books.  Easier access can lead to more reading.  Wouldn't it be nice if more people used their phone to read a book instead of catch up with Facebook or play Angry Birds?  



  1. Great blog post Laura! Your background information provides a clear record of the evolution of storytelling/ reading. I must admit I am hesitant to convert to e-reading. I am a relatively young man (32) that uses a lot of diverse technology. Yet, I am clinging to my hard copy books, I think there is something in the tactile nature of holding the book and flipping the pages. You do make a great point that may push me toward digital books...and that is the ease ad availability of my library. Taking one Kindle on a trip would be much easier than four or five books.

  2. Hey Laura,
    I think that it is a generational choice, to a degree. And it has a lot to do with the size of the print on some of these connected devices. Quite frankly, I just can't see the small print on my smart phone. Of course, one can expand the size of the text. But, I am in agreeance (is that a word?) with Josh. I just like the feel of the book in my hands.