Homework Time

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.

Here is the article.



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.

5 thoughts on “Homework Time

  1. SillyJaime says:

    I’m both an internet and book reader. I don’t think the internet is making us dumb, but I do think some people let it control their lives. I don’t read books online, I can’t stare at a computer screen long enough without getting a headache behind my eyes to read a book. I prefer to take my book to bed, or into the bathtub. But the things I read online are of a different sort than books. I read about the lives of people I’ve met and haven’t met (yet), I do research online, and I love Twitter and Facebook. I don’t read the news that often, but when I do it’s online.

    • Mary says:

      I’m more or less in the same boat.

      The general consensus of my class discussion was that internet and book reading are two separate skills, both of which are useful in their own way. The internet isn’t going to go away so arguing against it is pretty pointless. We all agreed that schools need to start teaching the difference, though, because kids aren’t learning when and how to use proper grammar or more formal English anymore (like for a class paper, for instance) and that’s becoming a problem.

      I’m pretty excited. I think this class is going to be really insightful and help me when I go out into the real world :]

  2. JIll says:

    I read both books and on the Internet, though honestly I’ve switched a lot of my pleasure “reading” to audiobooks. I spend too much time on the computer for work and my eyes just get tired, plus I can listen on my commute. Part of the problem with the Internet is that the writing is unreviewed and/or unedited. When things appear in print in any form, they’re taken as truth, including poor grammar and spelling.

    People also tend to segment where they think they need appropriate reading and (especially) writing skills. For example, they may acknowledge that formal English ought to be used in an English class, but get bent out of shape when I deduct for grammar and spelling in a statistics project. It’s a “math class” — not really, but that’s beside the point — so only mathematics ought to count. In the last six months, I’ve found grammar errors in commercial ads in magazines (it’s as the possessive rather than its).

    There is also a shared culture that exists in books and art and music, common touchstones that connect us as people. The Internet is good for breadth; books are good for depth.

    • Mary says:

      “The Internet is good for breadth; books are good for depth.” <- Couldn't agree more.

      I'll admit that I do switch up my tone a little when I write for a non-English class (back when I still had those..) and allow it to become a little more conversational than formal, unless it's for a big project, but I'd never turn something in that had poor grammar or spelling, as I feel it reflects upon me personally.

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