Do screen technologies dumb-down reading?

The Internet encourages us to read rapidly, skimming and surfing, bouncing from one link to the next. It does not encourage deep reading.  I clearly see how the Internet has impacted not only what I read, but also the way I read. The best way I can explain the difference brings to mind a wonderful sentiment expressed by William Carlos Williams: “It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”

Beginning readers do not know the difference between skimming and deep reading. If they do not learn to read deeply, and know the difference between the two, the joy of getting lost in a story will be lost to them. This saddens me, and I worry.

In the beginning, let a child “cut their teeth” on reading a book they can hold, knowing the joy of being single-mindedly absorbed in a story. Once they become proficient readers who enjoy reading and know how to “mine a story for its treasures”, they can then experience the more casual kind of reading that the Internet promotes.

Although adults are not immune from many of the effects of screen technologies dumbing-down reading, I am not as worried about how adults choose to read. They have the experience and knowledge of the different ways to read, but children do not yet have that knowledge.

Some thoughts to jump-start your thinking about how children and adults read:

~ Has the Internet diminished our interest in reading books?
~ Have all the gadgets freed us for more quality moments or made us busier?
~ Does Internet reading encourage deep thought and contemplation?
~ How have computerized gadgets changed what we read and the way we read?
~ How does multitasking during screen reading impact your focus and concentration?
~ Does the Internet encourage a short attention span?

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