Is this something we should be thinking about? Deep Reading vs. Screen Reading?

In today’s Globe & Mail, Dec. 12, 2011, John Barber, examines recent studies on screen reading vs. what is being called deep reading – something to consider as educators and leaders in our fields:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/books/books-vs-screens-which-should-your-kids-be-reading/article2268465/singlepage/

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2 Responses to Is this something we should be thinking about? Deep Reading vs. Screen Reading?

  1. Rochelle says:

    This is blatant scare-mongering, and disingenuous to boot. Comparing reading novels to reading tweets is like saying the card catalogue, with it’s tiny bits of information, was a threat to “deep thinking”.

    There are many kinds of reading, and literate people engage in many of them, sometimes within the same afternoon. People who follow Margaret Atwood also, as a general rule, read novels. “Screen reading” pontificators need to spend some time looking at the actual reading (and writing) going on on the internet. Like http://bookcountry.com/, which is practically brand new, and http://www.fictionpress.com/. Look at all that reading and writing going on! Reading and writing of lengthy bits of writing, no less, and on screens! If you’re brave, look at http://www.fanfiction.net/ (there are 56k stories on there about the television show Glee alone) or http://archiveofourown.org/ (which, for the record, has works over 100k words long with as many views and thousands of comments from readers). Lots of people read online, and form communities around texts. It might not be the kind of reading you want to see, but it’s sustained, lengthy, uninterrupted, and on screens.

    We need to stop fixating on the form content takes. What the screen is providing is a platform for people who would never get their work passed through publishing houses and editors, and while you may scoff at that (because we all know money is the ultimate test of whether or not something has value, right?), there is more text to read and engage with now than ever before, and people are engaging. Young people are engaging. Some of that text is in short format (like twitter). Some of it is so long publishers would balk at the idea of trying to publish it in physical form. It doesn’t matter if it’s on a screen. Content in content. This new form has the potential to save the monograph, not just to kill it. The form of the novel, the short story, the extended series, the monograph are all alive and well and being published online.

    I think, as librarians, we should be concerned with providing access to content, and, perhaps, providing platforms for content to be published, found, and engaged with on every level (deep or browse). Marrying ourselves to paper is the death knell of this profession.

  2. Pingback: Books vs. Screens: The Disingenuous Argument « Random Access Mazar

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