Reading: Online vs. Print

By Shannon G Mon, August 25, 2008

The New York Times recently published an article examining teens and the difference, if any, between reading printed books and online content. As writer Motoko Rich states, some point a finger of blame at the Internet in regards to declining and stagnated standardized reading scores. Rich succinctly profiles a few young adults and their reading habits, all the while bringing several interesting points to light. Below are a couple of bites for you to chew on. Agree? Disagree? Have an opinion not presented in the article? Share it with us by clicking on “Feedback”

  • "Some Web evangelists say children should be evaluated for their proficiency on the Internet just as they are tested on their print reading comprehension. Starting next year, some countries will participate in new international assessments of digital literacy, but the United States, for now, will not."
  • "Some traditionalists warn that digital reading is the intellectual equivalent of empty calories. Often, they argue, writers on the Internet employ a cryptic argot that vexes teachers and parents. Zigzagging through a cornucopia of words, pictures, video and sounds, they say, distracts more than strengthens readers. And many youths spend most of their time on the Internet playing games or sending instant messages, activities that involve minimal reading at best."


why should they be eveluvated
candy - Philadelphia Mon, August 25, 2008
Another quote in the article highlights why they should be evaluated - "In fact, some literacy experts say that online reading skills will help children fare better when they begin looking for digital-age jobs." Kids and teens today are evaluated for reading comprehension, writing, verbal aptitude, and math skills - the results of these tests are often one of the factors in getting accepted to colleges. By evaluating how quickly and with how much ease kids and teens navigate the Internet, potential employers (or educators) can see how web-savvy their future employees (or students) are. With more and more work-related tasks becoming dependent on Internet and computer use, these skills are quite valuable!
S - Philadelphia Tue, August 26, 2008
Although there is the potential for the internet to reduce the amount of reading children do, you also have to realise that it reduces the cost of distribution for books quite heavily (by using ebooks) - this means that in theory it should be more accessible to more people. Especially when you take into account sites like Project Gutenberg which provides over 25000 free digital versions of books. However, the problem comes because of the increased types of media - where offline you have novels, reference books, presentation folders and various forms of advertising (all written), on the internet you are also subjected to video and audio which reduces the need for written work.
Christian - Example: Philadelphia Sun, September 28, 2008
The debate is eternal, online vs print. Alas print seems to be losing the battle. I hardly ever touch anything printed anymore. Yes, I am a software professional and run an arcade website flash games site but then I SHOULD be reading something on paper yet, many a day pass before I do any such thing.
admin - Philadelphia Mon, September 29, 2008
I like just catching up on news by reading it online, and I like reading blogs However, if u give me the same book in 2 different formats (digital and print) I would definently choose print as it's a lot less straining, you can sit more comfortably and it just has that feel to it. Simon from Otooo
Simon - Australia Tue, September 30, 2008
I agree with Simon, nothing like reading the paper in print on a lazy weekend just relaxing. On the other hand, I like to go online to get the latest news ... real time, when I just need to know. Plastic Surgery Philippines
Rae - Makati, Philippines Tue, September 30, 2008
This is very interesting to me since I do a lot of my reading online. My
Dominic - Cincinnati Thu, October 02, 2008
i'm torn between 60-40 leaning towards reading online as i get the most real time info.
Jayj - honolulu Sat, October 04, 2008
Websites are put together very similar to magazines: a table of contents, boldface headlines, lots of images, and informal writing styles. Teens have gravitated toward magazines for at least the last 50 years, so what is the difference?
Kyle - Wichita, KS Sat, November 01, 2008
I think there is a bit of a trade off here. On one hand reading more digital content will not be as high a quality as most printed content, but on the other hand digital content opens up a much larger world of content and is updated much more frequently.
Jeff - Springfield Sun, December 07, 2008
hi a am a webmaster as well. i own a site and i think that it is good to read online because 1 day i believe that it well be the future
dave - uk Tue, December 23, 2008
I love the idea of having schoolchildren take digital literacy tests. The world is changing and kids in other countries like the are growing up in the digital would be wise to prepare.
Justin - Los Angeles Thu, July 16, 2009
Good - United States Tue, July 26, 2011
Nice post
- cali Tue, July 26, 2011
I agree with Simon, nothing like reading the paper in print on a lazy weekend just relaxing. On the other hand, I like to go online to get the latest news ... real time, when I just need to know.
Justin Google - Olney Tue, July 26, 2011
Awesome post
- Google World Tue, July 26, 2011
I believe digital literacy is very important in today's society. I prefer paper books but I can see the importance of digital literacy.
SEO - California Tue, July 26, 2011
While I have personally never thrown out a book, the internet is a source for endless information and knowledge potential. I think a balance of the two is key.
Gregory - Los Angeles Thu, August 11, 2011

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