Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tablets don't inspire readers

Everyone thought I was a stick in the mud.  Fellow students in my children's lit class (taken for a librarian degree) reacted with dismay when I said I wouldn't hand my young son an interactive e-book. Interactivity seemed like the last thing a burgeoning reader needed. Looks like the research is showing that to be true -- at least according to an Atlantic article.

The research stats are pretty damning. The conclusion drawn --

A touch-screen device makes it all too easy for a child to dismiss reading as boring or “flat” in comparison with the instant gratification of games and apps. There are simply too many distractions just a click away. Children are most likely to engage with stories in the right environment and context, and that means away from a screen.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Reading slowly, reading alone

In yesterday's New York Times, Colin Robinson discusses the vanishing network of professionals that used to support readers. One topic -- the loss of librarians as guides.

This variety of channels for the expert appraisal of books has been replaced with recommendations thrown up by online retailers’ computers. But as with so much of the Internet, the nuance and enthusiasm of human encounters is poorly replicated by an algorithm. For more personal interactions, many have turned to social reading sites such as Goodreads or LibraryThing.


The day before that, David Mikics wrote about the importance of offline reading in developing a sense of self --

The digital world offers us many advantages, but if we yield to that world too completely we may lose the privacy we need to develop a self. Activities that require time and careful attention, like serious reading, are at risk; we read less and skim more as the Internet occupies more of our lives. And there’s a link between selfhood and reading slowly, rather than scanning for quick information, as the Web encourages us to do. Recent work in sociology and psychology suggests that reading books, a private experience, is an important aspect of coming to know who we are.