Recently, Writtenwyrd pointed out that there is a lot of great material on writing on the net. Blogs, of course, but also articles all over the place on characterization, punctuation, grammar, style, voice, common errors, etc. I read quite a few writing related blogs and have checked out lots of online essays, but there is an issue. And I wonder if it’s just me, just a matter of experience and training, and if the younger generations will find this issue trivial.
The issue is that I, personally, don’t feel like I read at the same depth when I’m reading online as I do when I’m offline. Almost everything about being online is faster paced to me, and that includes reading. When I’m into a printed book, I often stop and think about what I’ve just read, or stop to visualize what is happening. I almost never do that when I’m reading online. I feel like I need to get the material and move on.
I think about this in relationship to my students. Most of them don’t read enough, certainly, but more and more of what they are reading is indeed online. And I wonder if they are handicapping themselves even further in the development of that reading practice we liked to call “Critical Reading,” where there is a big evaluation component.
But maybe it’s just a matter of practice and experience. I grew up reading print, of course. To me, that is still, in a sense, “real” reading. Will students who grow up reading online develop the same relationship with that media as those of us who grew up with print developed?
Do you find yourself reading faster and shallower online? Does reading on an ereader make any difference? When I sit down with my Kindle, I read much like I do with a regular printed book. But that’s not true on the computer as I surf the net. I wonder how much of this to bring up with my students. Maybe I’ll try to get them into a discussion of it. But I need to do some more thinking on the topic myself. How about you?