Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?

A good feature from the New York Times:

Young people “aren’t as troubled as some of us older folks are by reading that doesn’t go in a line,” said Rand J. Spiro, a professor of educational psychology at Michigan State University who is studying reading practices on the Internet. “That’s a good thing because the world doesn’t go in a line, and the world isn’t organized into separate compartments or chapters.”

Some traditionalists warn that digital reading is the intellectual equivalent of empty calories. Often, they argue, writers on the Internet employ a cryptic argot that vexes teachers and parents. Zigzagging through a cornucopia of words, pictures, video and sounds, they say, distracts more than strengthens readers. And many youths spend most of their time on the Internet playing games or sending instant messages, activities that involve minimal reading at best.


Nadia also writes her own stories. She posted “Dieing Isn’t Always Bad,” about a girl who comes back to life as half cat, half human, on both and

Nadia said she wanted to major in English at college and someday hopes to be published. She does not see a problem with reading few books. “No one’s ever said you should read more books to get into college,” she said. — Motoko Rich

Where to begin? Where to end? Lots of food for thought.

2 thoughts on “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?

  1. Yes, becoming intellectually engaged with what you read is really what literacy is all about, and writing about what you read is a great way to develop that facility. Find a forum that you care about, or go to Wikipedia, read the “discussion” page about a subject that you know about, and add your opinion to the discussion. Dexter, you sound very perceptive.

  2. You know what, its true, sad but true. As a young person, i personally believed that the internet would expand my reading abilities 10 folds, however this not happen through the internet. My sister on the other hand spends a lot of time online and engages herself with discussion on blogs and forums, and thus she as actually increased her own reading abilities. But, most kids as you said, spend most of the time just surfing, with little reading. And are more damaged than helped by IM, where sloppy language is often inherent.

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