Category Archives: academia
The New York Times had an excellent article Literacy Debate – Online, R You Really Reading?, in which the Times dissects reading, teenagers, and the internet. The piece discusses three children, and their respective approaches to reading. One teen profiled, 14 year old Nadia, reads nothing but fanfiction.net stories, but hopes to be an author, and major in English, saying, “No one’s ever said you should read more books to get into college,” she said. (I think several hundred colleges just read this article and disagreed). The other teens both read occasionally and use the internet as the main source of information.
The article outlines the academic and career-oriented benefits of reading, as well as the way the internet is changing reading. We’re becoming more and more used to reading at random parts of the screen. Not surprising, those students who read novels score better on standardized tests than those who don’t. However, low-income students’ scores improved as well, when given internet access, because while navigating the internet, they were reading.
The piece continues, with one expert asserting that reading on the internet is more enriching, and one of the teens pointing out the interactive benefit of reading. The web, he says, “is more of a conversation,” due largely to the growing number of blogs, comments on news articles, message boards, etc.
Right now, the children born in 2008 will grow up having always known the internet, and the access of information at the click of a button. They won’t know the trials of having to use the periodical index – in the form of a book – to write a term paper.
Since my thesis will focus on it, it’d be interested to see the converse of this topic: how the internet appears to foster reading of actual books, thanks to sites like librarything, paperbackswap, goodreads, etc. With book clubs moving online and blog buzz igniting book sales.
The Times article is really worth the read, with an unique look at how reading is evolving. I’d recommend A History of Reading, which although very dry, does have several interesting parts on how we have evolved as readers, progressing from pictograms to words to books, and how digital media will alter our experience.