Children’s Multisensory Reading

Submitted by: Ayoe Quist Henkel
Abstract: In step with the growth of technical media such as mobile phones and tablets, the conditions for literature reading is changing: in a digital age novice and seasoned readers alike are offered oppportunities to change between interfaces of different media (Hayles 2002, Engberg 2014, Drucker 2014) The reader reads, listens, sees, touches or does something with texts which come in the shape of various formats such as paper books, audio books and interactive sites. And the sensorial modes in which reading takes place in this intermedial landscape of texts change the act of reading itself. In the project ”Reading Between Media – Developing and Encouraging Children´s Multisensory Reading in a Digital Age” we investigate the characteristics of this multisensory reading via different interfaces. In our paper we present a pilot study from the project: on the basis of qualitative empirical studies of children’s reading of the same text in three different formats, i.e. audio book, paper book and interactive site, we focus on the implications of the different media experiences for the children’s reading act and reading process.
The project is based on theory on digital literature, interface and performative materiality (i.a. Hayles 2002, Andersen and Pold 2011, Drucker 2014, Engberg 2014); the aim is to examine children’s interaction with the various literary interfaces and their integration of visual, auditive and tactile sense appeal in order to operationalize theory and analysis into concrete strategies and possible actions for reading in a digital age.

Keywords: multisensory reading, interface, literature, text formats

Andersen, Christian Ulrik og Søren Pold (2011): Interface Criticism – Aesthetics Beyond Buttons. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.
Drucker, Johanna (2014): Graphesis. Visual Forms of Knowledge Production. Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press.
Engberg, Maria (2013): “Performing Apps Touch and Gesture as Aesthetic Experience.” Performance Research 18:5. S. 20-27.
Hayles, N. Katherine (2002): Writing Machines. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.