As teenagers’ scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading — diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books.
But others say the Internet has created a new kind of reading, one that schools and society should not discount. The Web inspires a teenager like Nadia, who might otherwise spend most of her leisure time watching television, to read and write.
So you be the judge — does reading on the Internet, or simply searching through the Internet, have a detrimental impact on our reading skills? The Times notes that traditionalists “warn that digital reading is the intellectual equivalent of empty calories.” On the other hand, supporters of the Web as a reading and learning tool say that children should be evaluated for their proficiency on the Internet in the same way they’re tested on their print reading comprehension.
So check it out — either in newsprint or online. I checked out both versions and found them to be equally enlightening.