The Experience of Reading

Exploring Format


  • Susan La Marca Genazzano FCJ College



eBooks, Reading, Comprehension, Format


This paper describes an action research project conducted in 2013 that questioned 262 students from years 5 to 10 about their use of eBooks and audio books for pleasure reading. The students’ responses demonstrated a strong preference for paper over digital versions of texts, a range of interesting feedback about their experiences with digital formats and their preferences for different formats in light of different types of reading needs. The responses also included a range of advantages and disadvantages, as perceived by the respondents, of the different formats. The survey responses, in line with current research, indicate value in exploring how readers respond to format types – the importance of format should not go unacknowledged, as it is clear that the interaction of the reader with format is complex. This paper considers the important areas of comprehension, concentration, eye strain the impact of format on our senses and the need for adequate support.

Author Biography

Susan La Marca, Genazzano FCJ College

Dr Susan La Marca is Head of Library and Information Services at Genazzano FCJ College in Melbourne and the editor of Synergy, for School Library Association of Victoria. Her PhD, thesis, completed in 2004, analyzed the factors that contribute to the creation of a reading environment in secondary school libraries. Susan has edited a number of texts in the field of teacher-librarianship on reading and library design including Back to Books: Creating a Focus on Fiction (1999), Rethink: Ideas for Inspiring School Library Design (2007). Susan is the co-author with Dr Pam Macintyre of Knowing Readers: Unlocking the Pleasures of Reading (SLAV, 2006) and wrote the book Designing the Learning Environment (ACER, 2010). Susan is also co-editor of the short story anthology Things a Map Wont Show You (Penguin Books, 2012).