Online Reading is Altering Our Ability to Read Books

The human brain is adapting to the internet. We are getting used to skimming, scanning, picking out words, scrolling and jumping to the next page. Our eye movements are learning to move in a non linear fashion in order to gather the most information quickly.

Before the internet we read one page at a time, in a mostly linear way, coped with long sentences and had to search for information in paragraphs more than the 140 characters long tumbler messages.
In this age of online reading, scrolling, touching, pushing and text messaging research is showing that more and more students (and adults) are struggling to read classic literature and books that require more in-depth reading and concentration.
In their article ‘Serious Reading Takes a Hit From Online Reading’ The Washington Post quotes:
“…Researchers say that the differences between text and screen reading should be studied more thoroughly and that the differences should be dealt with in education, particularly with school-aged children. There are advantages to both ways of reading. There is potential for a bi-literate brain.
“We can’t turn back,” Wolf (a Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist) said. “We should be simultaneously reading to children from books, giving them print, helping them learn this slower mode, and at the same time steadily increasing their immersion into the technological, digital age…

If reading books is becoming more difficult for the human brain, perhaps we should think of delaying the introduction of tablets and computers to babies and young children?

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