Friday, June 14, 2013

Support Your Local Bookstore, Too

Early on in this blog I wrote a rather cranky post about my reluctance to abandon paper books for the electronic versions.  It was entitled "Support Your Local Library."  After an article I read yesterday, I believe we need to support our bookstores, too.

The article, by Annie Murphy Paul and entitled "How Reading Can Be Like Falling In Love," was published on PBS's NextAvenue blog, and it discussed how reading primarily online material may dumb down our children.

It turns out that reading online doesn't train or use the brain in the same way that reading a hard copy does, and only "deep reading" (the kind you do with a real book) enables humans to engage in deep thinking.  This makes sense to me.  All the website-building classes I ever took urged us to present online material in the visual version of sound bites - that is, in short, instantly understandable chunks that fit easily on even a small screen.  The readers of this deliberately abridged information aren't absorbing enough detail to think deeply about whatever subject is being presented, even if they aren't also being distracted by embedded hyperlinks and flashing ads for "weird old" remedies for their wrinkles or stomach fat.

E-readers are probably less likely to have this effect because they are more often used to read entire books and less apt to be cluttered with distracting sidebars, but as e-readers morph into multi-purpose tablets this advantage may diminish or disappear.

Support your local (or online) bookstore today.  Buy a child a REAL book.

"Observing young people’s attachment to digital devices, some progressive educators and permissive parents talk about needing to 'meet kids where they are,' molding instruction around their onscreen habits. This is mistaken. We need, rather, to show them someplace they've never been, a place only deep reading can take them." ~ Annie Murphy Paul

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