One of the topics I became interested in when I wrote my book was critical reading; in fact, the chapter on critical reading is one that I’m particularly proud of.
In a recent post, Will Richardson raised the question of whether or not reading is dead from the perspective of young people today. Both Will’s post and the associated comments are worth reading.
One issue that worries me, and that was only briefly touched on in the discussion, is whether or not students today have the ability to read deeply.
In one of the comments to Will’s post, Kyle says
Reading is also changing. Reading is no longer a linear experience, where one reads one page after another. Reading now, especially on the Internet, is a three dimensional experience. The depth and breadth of content grows geometrically as multiple hyperlinks give readers the ability to dig into the background information that the author used to formulate their thoughts.
Okay, at least in principle I agree. But very little of what I’ve read in Web2.0 (e.g. blog postings, wiki articles, etc) is very deep. Many of the ideas are complex, but their explication tends to be in snippets, rather than in more fully developed compositions.
I don’t have an answer to this question. I know I found reading complex texts difficult when I was in college, perhaps as difficult as students today seem to find it. However, I don’t remember my contemporaries complaining about the difficulties that current students do. Today’s student’s strike me as impatient, or undisciplined. I may be wrong though. It could be just they way they’re articulating the same issues that we faced.