Reading and Attention

I’m spending the morning rereading work I’ve assigned for my courses (fairly conventional books/ academic articles for the most part). I’m extra conscious today of all the skills I’m using to grasp main ideas, to monitor when I need to reread, when I can skim, when I even decide to skip some parts all together. Those are essential skills for any of us with too much to read and too little time.

Some of these skills, we teach as we work with kids to make sense of different genres, including nonfiction texts. Partly, I have taught myself how to get through massive amounts of text for many courses and now as part of my work.

I’m pretty certain that no one coming to class tonight will have read through every work, beginning to end.

And I’m thinking now about how so much of what we read comes to us in much less linear form– in RSS feeds, via links in Twitter streams, almost always with multiple hyperlinks to related text or other media.

And I’m thinking about how there is more to read every day, being created by the moment.

Are we teaching kids to read in these new genres? To sort out where deep and focused reading is called for and where skimming is fine? To ignore what’s not core to learning?

Or is that learning for outside of school, and school literacy is still primarily about conventional print text?

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1 Comment

Filed under Digital Reading

One response to “Reading and Attention

  1. Teaching first grade, I think that our society expects only conventional print concepts being taught. Many schools are getting rid of their computer labs and moving to COWS which leaves young students with out access to learn even basic computer skills. I know that several of my students have not touched a computer. I think something will need to change since so much going on around us is digital. Knowing how to access information critically is crucial. Thanks for your post.

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