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The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens
In a viral YouTube video from October 2011 a one-year-old girl sweeps her fingers across an iPad's touchscreen, shuffling groups of icons. In the following scenes she appears to pinch, swipe and prod the pages of paper magazines as though they too were screens. When nothing happens, she pushes against her leg, confirming that her finger works just fine—or so a title card would have us believe. The girl's father, Jean-Louis Constanza, presents "A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work" as naturalistic observation—a Jane Goodall among the chimps moment—that reveals a generational transition. "Technology codes our minds," he writes in the video's description. "Magazines are now useless and impossible to understand, for digital natives"—that is, for people who have been interacting with digital technologies from a very early age. Perhaps his daughter really did expect the paper magazines to respond the same way an iPad would. Related:  Reading

Why teenagers are so resistant to e-readers | Children's books There seems to be an idea spouted by many working in the media at the moment, that young people are giving up on traditional media. The BBC took BBC Three off our TV screens recently as it moves online to further target that lucrative 16-24 demographic. The BBC Trust claimed that there was “clear public value in moving BBC Three online, as independent evidence shows younger audiences are watching more online and watching less linear TV”. Books just aren’t the same though. But it’s worth remembering that, against all odds, the sale of physical books is on the up and the sale of digital books is falling. People have their different reasons for this. Sure, I love the internet. But that’s not the same as the assumption that everything people my age do is filtered through the digital sphere. No doubt about it, the world is turning increasingly digital.

Screen vs. paper: what is the difference for reading and learning? Introduction It all started with a project at Uppsala University Library in Sweden called ‘Mobile Academics’, where we held seminars on how to use the library’s e-resources on a tablet computer and gave tips on different apps to use when studying. This project led to another seminar about the difference between reading on screen and on paper. To prepare for it, we read scientific articles and picked out a few of those as examples. Is it dangerous to read from a screen? In the early years of the railway, people were seriously concerned about how the speed (18 mph or 30 kmph) would affect the human body. New inventions do make our lives easier in many ways, but they can also cause worries and troubles – both actual and imaginary. These days, no one is diagnosed with ‘railway spine’, but we do get ‘iPad neck’, ‘computer vision syndrome’ and screen-related sleeplessness. Is it more difficult to read from a screen? But why did all the participants still prefer to read on paper? Original | PPT

A Curriculum Staple: Reading Aloud to Teens Dana Johansen, a teacher at the Greenwich (CT) Academy, reads to eighth graders.Photo courtesy of Greenwich Academy. Every year, Beth Aviv, a high school English teacher in Westchester County, NY, asks her students, “How many of you were read to by a parent when you were little?” Last year, only a quarter of the class raised their hands. Aviv discovered these students were starved for storytelling. Rabbit, and Lynda Blackmon Lowery’s Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March (Dial, 2015). Young people often listen at a higher comprehension level than they read, according to Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook (Penguin, 1982), a best seller with more than two million copies sold, and now in its seventh edition. Perhaps not surprisingly, Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Report, 5th edition, based on a survey conducted in the fall of 2014, correlates high reading enjoyment with reading frequency in students ages six to 17. Stress-free books

The fall and rise of magazines from print to digital | Media Network Challenging times lie ahead for magazines. The Audit Bureau of Circulations figures published last month made grim reading. Sales of celebrity titles, such as Heat, Hello! and Closer have plummeted, squeezed out by celebrity websites and the Daily Mail's sidebar of shame. But these figures are only a partial reflection of what is really going on. Indeed, some sectors are doing quite nicely and all magazines are built around the twin pillars that have always eluded newspapers – passion and community. Jack Roberts, the founding editor of Bad Idea magazine and founder of Future Human (, @futurehumanista), a multimedia editorial team focusing on innovation and new ideas, reminded me the other day that the word "magazine" comes from the 16th century Arabic term makzin or makzan, which means storehouse – hence its use in military parlance. But its etymology is relevant to the magazine industry today. Some big titles have done just this.

I Am Not My Disability: Outstanding Books For and About Young People with Disabilities - National Reading Campaign National Reading Campaign Every two years, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) chooses outstanding books for and about young people with disabilities. This biennial selection draws attention to books published around the world that address special needs and situations and which encourage inclusion at every level. Outstanding titles, including the one below, become part of The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities. This one-of-a-kind collection is located in Canada at North York Central Library, part of the Toronto Public Library system. Here is one of the titles from the 2015 list: Emily Included By Kathleen McDonnell Published by Second Story Press The true story of a Canadian girl with cerebral palsy whose family refused to accept the limits that others placed on her is brought to life in this short, easy-to-understand chapter book. Interested in learning more about The IBBY Collection of Books? Copyright © Toronto Public Library, 2015

Why kids still need ‘real books’ to read — and time in school to enjoy them Nancie Atwell is the renowned founder of the Center for Teaching and Learning, an award-winning non-profit independent K-8 demonstration school in Edgecomb, Maine, where she teaches seventh- and eighth-grade writing, reading and history. She is the author of numerous books, including the classic “In the Middle: A Lifetime of Learning About Writing, Reading, and Adolescents,” which has inspired teachers for years, and she has won numerous awards, including the first-ever $1 million Global Teacher Prize given earlier this year by the Varkey Foundation. Atwell’s school has a national reputation for its research-based literacy methods which focus on engaging and challenging students while fostering relationships between faculty and parents. A hallmark of the school are the collections of books, carefully selected by adults, from which students can choose. Ladies and gentlemen: I’m honored to be speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative.

10 Reasons Nonreaders Don't Read — And How to Change Their Minds Children are not born with a natural aversion to reading. We know that. We see what happens when we introduce toddlers to books. They fall in love. Why, then, is reading such a problem for so many elementary and secondary students? One day, at the start of my English class, I asked, “How many of you like reading?” I worked hard to convince those students that reading was a skill, not a natural-born talent, and that they were capable of learning. “You can’t sink a free throw if you never get on the court,” I told them. Because we had developed a solid rapport based on mutual respect and trust, those students agreed to give reading one more try. With each new high school class, I kept the discussion about reading as one of our introductory activities. Reason 1: Reading Gives Them a Headache or Makes Their Eyes Hurt Do this: Recent research suggests that nearly half of people who are labeled as learning disabled actually suffer from scotopic (light) sensitivity.

In Defense of Free Choice Independent Reading | teacherman travis “We now have a quarter century of studies that document three findings: literacy blooms wherever children have access to books they want to read, permission to choose their own, and time to get lost in them.” -Nancie Atwell I was mesmerized by stories when I was a child. When entranced by a delightful book, I would spend hours devouring the narrative, getting lost in the world of the characters and wishing I could step into their world for just a moment. I have several middle school children in my life, ones I know personally, and their collective indictment about language arts classes is sobering, especially since they qualify for advanced programs. The benefits of free choice independent reading far outreach any graphic organizer, worksheet, skill drill, or group conversations that students are exposed to in our classrooms. I’m amazed at the reading communities that populate in my classroom over the course of a year. Our students are counting on us. P.S. Like this: Like Loading...

5 Minute Librarian: 7 Ways to Rediscover Your Love for Reading The worst has happened. You are a librarian, but you have found that you just cannot pick up another book. Maybe you are in a reading slump. Maybe you devoured too many books and your appetite has hit a wall... for a few months now. Maybe the pressures of reading during your downtime (which was never much to begin with) has finally broken you. Whatever it is, there is hope. 1. Get ten books off the library shelf and read the first few pages/chapter. 2. If you read print books, try an audio book or a graphic novel. 3. We all have genres that we do not enjoy, but you need to know about them for readers' advisory. 4. Talk to your friends and colleagues to see if they have any books to recommend. 5. There are a lot of podcasts (like All the Books) out there which essentially give a lot of book talks about new books coming out. 6. Do you find yourself preferring to watch TV or a movie instead of reading? 7. Go ahead, and pull out that beloved book that you have enjoyed in the past.

The Scientific Reason Actual Books Are So Much More Memorable Than E-Books | Thrive Global We all know the cycle: If you want to get clicks on the Internet, take something people love and tell them they’re doing it wrong. It’ll prompt reads from people worried they’re doing it wrong, shares from early adopters who agree with you, hate-reads from people who disagree, and maybe a counter-take or two from people who were so flummoxed by your argument they had to publish a reply, like this one. Such is the case with “Why you should quit reading paper books,” a perfectly titled troll from Andy Sparks, a startup cofounder and Medium blogger. "I believe everyone should quit reading print books almost entirely," he opines in the opening paragraph of the trending piece. There’s a saccharine sweetness to the sentiment: while smacking of Silicon Valley exceptionalism, the post manages to not only swing and miss on what science says about how memory actually works, but it also misreads what our literary tradition says reading is for, and what the current trend in the book market is.

The Ways Librarians Inspire a Love of Books in Reluctant Readers There’s a well-known quote by Frank Serafini that goes, “There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.” And yet, as a concerned parent, grandparent, or caregiver, how do you ensure that the “right book” gets into the hands of your reluctant reader? Why not start at the library? Expert assistance is always available from ever-helpful and energetic librarians and staff who are specially-trained to help readers (even reluctant ones) find the book that is right for them. Sure, when you arrive at the library with your child, you may feel nervous or intimidated to talk to the librarians, but please allow me to put your mind at ease — the librarian’s main purpose is helping people! Whether the librarian is at a service desk or roaming among the books, they’ll want to interview you and your child to assess what the issue may be preventing reading success. Does your child struggle with reading itself?

Comics and Reluctant Learners: Dispelling the Myths By Michael Gianfrancesco I have been doing this whole “teaching with comics” thing for nearly 15 years and I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with teachers all over the country. During panels and workshops, I find that I often hear (or overhear) a specific remark: “I love these books. They’re great for my reluctant readers.” When I hear teachers say things like this, or that comics are only for the “kids who don’t like to read,” I feel they’re buying into a common myth: that reluctant readers are the only ones who can benefit from comics. While it’s true that comics and graphic novels do work well with reluctant readers, that’s precisely because they work well with nearly all readers. For my part, I use comics with all my students who vary in gender, age, and academic performance – from reluctant to engaged and everything in between. See, that’s the rub! Elementary/Middle School Level: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Science Has Great News for People Who Read Actual Books It's no secret that reading is good for you. Just six minutes of reading is enough to reduce stress by 68%, and numerous studies have shown that reading keeps your brain functioning effectively as you age. One study even found that elderly individuals who read regularly are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's than their peers. The debate between paper books and e-readers has been vicious since the first Kindle came out in 2007. Reading in print helps with comprehension. A 2014 study found that readers of a short mystery story on a Kindle were significantly worse at remembering the order of events than those who read the same story in paperback. Our brains were not designed for reading, but have adapted and created new circuits to understand letters and texts. The tactile experience of a book aids this process, from the thickness of the pages in your hands as you progress through the story to the placement of a word on the page.

Strategies to Help Students ‘Go Deep’ When Reading Digitally | MindShift | KQED News Students are doing more reading on digital devices than they ever have before. Not only are many teachers using tablets and computers for classroom instruction, but many state tests are now administered on computers, adding incentive for teachers to teach digital reading strategies. But casual digital reading on the internet has instilled bad habits in many students, making it difficult for them to engage deeply with digital text in the same way they do when reading materials printed on paper. Devin Hess sympathizes with educators’ concerns, but believes digital reading is here to stay and teachers have a duty to equip students to engage with digital texts in meaningful ways. Hess was a middle school social studies teacher and early tech adopter in his classroom. Now he works with the UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project training social studies teachers on deep reading strategies. “I don’t believe technology should ever be taught separately,” Hess said.

Really good insights and wordings on the "landscape" perception that a physical book offers by cberlin Sep 11