With Digital Reading, New Comprehension Challenges
As we continue to support what is considered settled science for teaching reading, new technologies bring new challenges. In Wolf's book, written as a series of letters to the reader, the author “considers the future of the reading brain and our capacity for critical thinking, empathy, and reflection as we become increasingly dependent on digital technologies.”
Wolf discovers that the depth of her own reading has changed. With the emergence of digital media, which necessitates the rapid processing of vast amounts of information, she finds herself skimming rather than deeply processing. She admits to struggling to “come home” to the focused reading she enjoyed most of her life.
Wolf coins the term “cognitive patience” to describe the ability to switch to deep reading mode when it’s called for. She proposes that we will need to teach readers to evaluate the best medium for the information they seek, not merely the least cognitively challenging.
How will we teach current and future readers to develop a "biliterate brain"? Wolf's insights serve as inspiration and caution for educators and readers everywhere.