Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Digital Reading

This Washington Post article about reading skills in a digital age is interesting.   The title implies that online reading is not "serious":

"Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say"

It sounds the familiar alarm - that our online "reading" (skimming and scanning) is hurting our traditional paper reading - but also points out this interesting point:

The brain was not designed for reading. There are no genes for reading like there are for language or vision. But spurred by the emergence of Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Phoenician alphabet, Chinese paper and, finally, the Gutenberg press, the brain has adapted to read.
I always enjoy the evolutionary way of looking at things.  Of course, humans learned to read over time - and now we are learning a new way to read.  
I'm not ready to be alarmed - yet.  Of course, I seem to have developed a new way of reading - the digital way - and have been able to keep my "old" way of reading deeply with concentration.  Online reading is highly distracting (to me), too many links, far too easy to stray over to your email, etc. . . 
Perhaps - one could argue - successful online readers will develop the ability to filter distractions and continue to read deeply, with concentration online.  Those are the folks who will succeed in the years to come - digital readers who can read the "old way" - with concentration in an increasingly distractable world.
  

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