Tech Salad

With Crunchy Bits and Bytes

Reading Is an Evolving Skill

I am always interested in research that gives me real information about opinions I have formed based on anecdotal evidence. For example, I read an article in The New Yorker yesterday about the nature of online reading. I had blogged about some of the issues years ago*, and had concluded that the problems or benefits would continue to evolve. I’m glad serious people are devoting time to the changing relationship between text and people.

If you are a teacher in a school going through a digital conversion**, you might want to take a look at the article. There are lots of ideas to think about. For example:

  • kids must be taught to read differently because comprehension and retention seem to be closely related to self-control (This is the part that goes immediately back to my old blog post linked above)
  • kids who are avid gamers seem to deal better with on-screen distractions
  • all readers, young and old, need to make a conscious effort to read rather than skim. This one seems to be more of a problem with scrolling as opposed to flipping digital pages.
  • sometimes it might be a good idea to take a device offline when reading lengthy texts
As the article says, online reading is new. We’ve been reading ink on surfaces for centuries, and we have learned to cope both as writers and readers. This new trend is not going away and we won’t really understand what is happening to our eyes, our bodies, and our brains for many years. We just have to wait and read on.


*Why am I surprised that I can say “years ago” when I refer to a blog post I wrote? I guess before coming to Goochland I never thought I’d ever do any writing. Now I have eight years worth of blog posts and three books. I’m so thankful to have this ongoing record of my work and reflections.

**I’m not fond of this term since, to me, it says we are taking all the old stuff, making PDFs, and not really changing how we do school.

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