I got 42 page views yesterday. 42! Last week I was excited over 9. It made me happy.
Today a somewhat more serious post which is actually from a homework assignment I had to do. It’s an interesting article about whether or not reading on the Internet is killing our literacy skills.
And here is the response I typed up for homework:
One of the statements from one of the kids interviewed in the article that stuck out to me was “No one’s ever said you should read more books to get into college.” I immediately thought back to my freshman year in high school when my English teacher gave us a list of books and authors that she told us college professors would assume we would know or had already read by that time. Those that I remember from the list are books and authors that some of my professors have expected me to know. As an English major I think reading actual books is still essential if you want to do well in college. That said, I do not think that reading on the internet is necessarily a bad thing. I consider reading books versus reading on the internet to be two separate skills, both of which are useful today.
I am someone who reads books on a regular basis for fun, and I feel that it improves my writing and comprehension skills and strengthens my ability to focus. I agree with the statement from Ken Pugh: “Reading a book, and taking the time to ruminate and make inferences and engage the imaginational processing, is more cognitively enriching, without doubt, than the short little bits that you might get if you’re into the 30-second digital mode.” When I’m reading a book, I’m more invested in taking time to imagine what I’m reading and it tends to stick with me a little more than something I read online most of the time.
On the other hand, I also do a lot of reading on the internet. This sort of reading is all about quickness and making connections and gathering a lot of information directly. I feel like the internet has increased my ability to multitask and helps me to make quick connections and recall information quickly when I need to. Through the internet I have also gained a lot of knowledge and interests that I might not otherwise have had if I stuck only to books. For instance I am very interested in cooking and have discovered many techniques and recipes that I doubt I could have found in a book unless I knew what I was looking for. The internet has also led me to a lot of books I might not have found on my own, including several series. Overall I think the internet has greatly changed how we live and that is not always a bad thing.
I’m interested to get other people’s take on this. Are you a book or internet reader? Do you think the internet is making us all dumb? To be honest I do think that a lot of people could stand to sign off for a while and go read some books, but if I got into that side of things I’d have a much longer response up there, and I have cookies to bake.