Monthly Archives: August 2014

Being A Better Online Reader

July 16, 2014
Being a Better Online Reader
By Maria Konnikova
 

The contrast of pixels, the layout of the words, the concept of scrolling versus turning a page, the physicality of a book versus the ephemerality of a screen, the ability to hyperlink and move from source to source within seconds online—all these variables translate into a different reading experience.

Maria Konnikova lays out a wonderful description and explanation of the differences between online reading and reading a tangible book. Although she doesn’t really delve into how to be a better online reader. She does cite a number of different studies and report that discuss the negative impacts of digital reading and the loss of overall reading comprehension and deep reading.

When Ziming Liu, a professor at San Jose State University whose research centers on digital reading and the use of e-books, conducted a review of studies that compared print and digital reading experiences, supplementing their conclusions with his own research, he found that several things had changed. On screen, people tended to browse and scan, to look for keywords, and to read in a less linear, more selective fashion. On the page, they tended to concentrate more on following the text. Skimming, Liu concluded, had become the new reading: the more we read online, the more likely we were to move quickly, without stopping to ponder any one thought.

Skimming is the new reading. But I wonder if it’s really knew? In high school, 15 years ago, well before the Internet was the juggernaut of information it is today, I was taught to skim on reading throughout my textbooks. Read the headline, read the first sentence and there ya go. Look at the highlighted text and glossary and that should give you a preview, or a rough idea of the content of the text. Is this very different from how we read online today? I think the biggest difference is that its much easier to get distracted and jump from hyperlink to hyperlink when online, losing that traction and concentration that you can’t avoid when you have an actual book right in front of you.

We see the studies and reports almost weekly know. The number of people reading is steadily dropping. The number of people reading online is steadily increasing. We, as librarians, need to be aware of these shifts and be ready to help with the transfer, but still trying to figure out how to bridge the gap on comprehension levels between the two methods. Libraries are investing more and more into ebooks, which is what the community wants. We should be aware of the repercussions of supporting this movement.

This post was originally published on The Novel World on Monday 08/18/2014 at 10:00am

The Trouble With Boys by Peg Tyre

The trouble with boys : a surprising report card on our sons, their problems at school, and what parents and educators must do

The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre

Peg Tyre provides a sobering look at how the modern school system is failing boys. Boys nationwide, across all lines of wealth and poverty are straggling behind girls. Boys are less motivated, less inclined to participate in school activities. This goes from homework to extracurriculars (not including sports). Since so much effort has been put into supporting and promoting female success at school, the success of the boys has fallen by the wayside.

One of Tyre’s main points is that this is a highly controversial topic. How do you discuss supporting boy curricula without is coming across as anti-girl? Boys and girls learn differently. Tyre discusses that in-depth in her book using a number of examples and studies. She visits schools and speaks with teachers and administrators across the nation. As it stands, boys are suffering. Boys are constantly trying to be reformed to be less aggressive, more docile and that is not cohesive with the developmental milestones. Boys are squirmy, they are wiggly. They cannot sit still for hours on end. Schools are cutting back on recess and lunch hours, and in the end, boys are being misdiagnosed with ADHD all because they don’t have the space or time to exert their extra energy. It’s very troubling to me, a mother of a young son. I already worry about his education in California (one of the worst ranked in the nation), but to add this on top of my other concerns is just disheartening. Tyre does end each chapter with advice for parents, teachers and administrators. The book is about 6 years old, so I do wish she would update this edition. I’d love to know what the state of the national school system is now, particularly with the introduction of the Common Core standards.

This is a great book for parents of boys, especially the highly active ones. I feel like I am more on-alert about his proclivities and personality. I feel more prepared for whatever future discussions I’ll have with teachers about his classroom participation.

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