What if our children had instant access to a library with thousands of books from countries all over the world — a place that invited them to drop by, read, and learn about one another (without any driving)? Imagine what they could find out about the world’s cultures, celebrations, languages, differences, and also about what they have in common with all these other people and places!
That just about describes the mission of the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL), a World Wide Web destination hosted at the University of Maryland. The massive website includes digitized books in 61 languages, and it’s the largest online collection of multicultural children’s literature with a mission to the promote the love of reading AND the love of diversity. The books are beautiful filled with colorful and detailed illustrations — you almost feel like you are holding an old-fashioned book!
By clicking on the animated Read Books! icon in the middle of the ICDL home page readers, young and old, are off and reading. The multi-cultural aspect comes from interacting with books that are read and languages spoken by children in 42 other countries as well as seeing pictures by artists from around the world.
No additional software is required – the website has everything, and it’s well designed. So pick up a book — well click on it, actually — and concentrate on the reading — there are few ways to jump around when one is in the midst of reading a book
Use these ICDL simple search instructions to help you set off on rich and textured digital adventures.
Educators and parents should take some time to share ICDL with their 21st Century learners. It a great site for them to explore — perfect for parent-child tech times. And it may just help students read in a more detailed and in-depth fashion, a type of reading that is not especially supported by digital activities on the World Wide Web.
The Washington Post just published Serious Reading Takes a Hit From Online Scanning and Skimming, Researchers Say, an April 6, 2014 article that reports how researchers are beginning to observe differences in the way people read. Can people (that’s us) perhaps lose the ability to read for meaning with all the nonlinear reading — jumping, clicking and skimming — online? The researchers are beginning to think we may lose it.
ICDL may just be one way to help children use, fine tune, and further develop their skills as they check out books that involve in-depth reading experiences.