21 Things – Highlighting and Note Writing in an eBook

My Kindle changed my life. When I was given a Kindle several years ago for Christmas, it made reading in different places and at different times very easy. As I could carry several books in a small package, I carried it everywhere-the doctors, sporting events, and the Secretary of State. My case had a light attached that allowed me to read in the dark. I transitioned to the Kindle app after buying an iPad in 2012, and I gave the Kindle to my wife.

In a previous post, 21 Things – ePub Readers, I discussed some of the benefits of eBooks. One of the many advantages is you can find many free books. For this blog post, I am using The Call of the Wild by Jack London,  which I obtained through Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is a non-profit designed to electronically share books which are no longer copyrighted in the United States. They have over 49,000 books available in many formats.

Of particular interest to me, because I usually read for learning, is the ability to highlight passages and take notes in eBooks. Highlighting eBooks requires holding a stylus or finger on a word then moving it to another word. You can choose to highlight in different colors, which can be valuable if you highlighting for different purposes.  

Call of the Wild – Highlights

Besides highlighting, I appreciate the ability to open a dictionary definition by simply highlighting one word and choosing the define option. It allows me to stay in the book, and it only slows my reading. In addition, the Kindle app provides other links to information on the Web about the word. The additional links can be helpful if the definition is unclear or circular in nature.

Definition and Links

As a former English teacher, I like to annnotate books about items to discuss with students or to seek more information. To annotate in the Kindle app, place a stylus or finger where you want to write your note, the when the highlight bar pops on the screen (see pictures) tap on the paper and pen icon. An annotation box pops up and you type your note (see below). The second arrow points to the icon that shows a note has been saved. 

Call of the Wild – Annotation

  We do not allow students to write in our classroom books, so the ability to highlight and annotate an eBook allows the student to mark up the book without repurcussions. However, if the books are under one Apple ID or Kindle ID, they would all be marked when one person highlights or annotates a book.

An advantage of paper books would be they help to limit student screen time. Another advantage is it is cheaper to buy a classroom set of books than to buy a classroom set of devices and eBooks.

Paper books or eBooks is a decision to be made by a school or district based on a study of what will work best for their students.

Share your thoughts about the advantages and disadvantages of highlighting and annotating eBooks or Paper books in the comments or you can email me at marc@marcdaly.com. I look forward to continuing the discussion about using eBooks.