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Is online text reading really reading?

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by SFG75, Jul 27, 2008.

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Is online text reading really reading?

Poll closed May 24, 2010.
  1. Yes-It's just as good as books

    15.4%
  2. No-It kills attention spans, & complex language development

    69.2%
  3. Not enough evidence to know right now

    15.4%
  4. Stewart

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    Currently Reading:
    The Road to Character; David Brooks
    A fascinating debate covered by the New York Times.

    Literacy Debate - Online, R U Really Reading? - Series - NYTimes.com

    So, is it truly beneficial for the youngsters to "read" online? Or is it detrimental to test scores, attention spans, and detracts from an overall appreciation of books?
     
  2. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    I suppose I'll take a conservative point of view here.
    There are reasons we are expected to learn to read and write English well, having to do with fitting into future life as an educated person, I suppose, even if that is not the way we usually speak in our lives.
    I would suggest that learning to read actual books and comprehend their content is also a skill that will be required for educated people later in life for some time to come, even though we might use text speak on our palm devices in other contexts.

    I think the jury is still out on electronic books versus printed books. In either case, though, it seems to me it is the comprehension, more than the format, that is important.

    But it will never be television.

    R U w1th me? :)
     
  3. joderu95

    joderu95 New Member

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    I'm with you. The trade off comes with learning how to sustain an attention span over a much longer duration (books) versus going from subject to subject in a medium that lends itself to choice (Internet).

    That's true, but I think it is possible that the format from which you learn to read affects your comprehension in the long run too.
     
  4. ProfessorMarvel

    ProfessorMarvel New Member

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    I think that the disassociated nature of "internet research" (compared to reading books) might not foster the kind of gestalt understanding of issues as a whole. Internet research (and hey, I do it, too) often means scanning for this and that bit of information to assemble a mosaic-like picture of a topic. Reading books, on the other hand, involves a deeper, more sustained, more detailed exploration of a topic.

    I suppose it depends on the purpose of one's research, but I doubt whether the internet approach--though quicker--yields the same depth and breadth of comprehension that reading does. It may be the difference between dashing into the Quick-E-Mart to grab a few groceries and, um, farming.
     
  5. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    You may be right. Reasoning may well require a longer attention span than simple assimilation of factual information, which might be done with shorter bursts of attention. But I am certainly not he person to say, because teaching, learning and psychology are far far outside my fields of expertise.
     
  6. Revised

    Revised New Member

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    I know that I read fewer books now than before I had my own computer (with internet). However, I love the internet and I feel my reading and access to information is now significantly enriched. I would never want to go back to life before the internet!:)
     
  7. bookworm fellow

    bookworm fellow Member

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    I agree that what matters is not where you read, but what you read. So it does not matter if your read from a printed book or an ebook. The device used (paper or an electronic device) will make no difference.

    But reading news, on line forums or any other small texts on the internet requires much less understanding and focusing skills than reading a bigger text as a literary piece. I don't think we can compare these different skills.

    Anyway, it's not only books that can help people to learn how to write and read a language better. I myself became able to communicate in English thanks to the internet, doing things like reading news and posting in forums like this one. Even video games (when I was a lot younger) forced me to read English.
     
  8. Blindsided

    Blindsided Member

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    What a silly question. Of course it's reading.
     
  9. sparkchaser

    sparkchaser Administrator and Stuntman Staff Member

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    I don't think reading online is as good as reading a book.
     
  10. dele

    dele New Member

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    It depends what they're reading. There's lots of worthwhile reading on the internet.

    Now if we're talking about cell phone text messages or chat room messages, sure it's reading, but it's not productive reading. If anything, it's dangerous to their IQ. I deal with a lot of young adults from various walks of life through my work and I've seen so many text-message wizards who can't fill out a simple application form to save their life. They can hardly read and they can't spell. I'm willing to bet that not one of these kids have ever read a book for pleasure.
     
  11. Robert

    Robert Active Member

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    I know some teachers at the local community college that tell me that they have students handing in papers written in text message abbreviations.

    I agree that there is good material available on the internet. But I don't think kids are going to find it in the fan fiction forums. That seems to me something akin to the blind leading the blind.
     

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