Yesterday the New York Times published the first article, in a series, on the current state of reading. The focus of the first article is on the topic of electronic reading and whether or not reading text messages, blogs, web sites, etc. counts as reading. This is not a new question of course, and it’s a topic that I’ve posted on this blog about before, however, it’s important to pay attention to the New York Times story, and follow-up articles, for a few reasons, including:

  • The buzz on the web yesterday once the story hit was pretty massive. It seemed that everywhere I turned there was some conversation on the topic. Twitter, blogs, comments at the New York Times web site all were abuzz with this story. The story obviously created a stir. That seems to mean that this is a topic of great interest to a lot of people. Since it has to do with reading, and with teens,’  it’s definitely something to pay attention to.
  • Teens are a big part of the first article, and maybe the others that follow.’  Teens are interviewed. Parents of teens are interviewed. There’s a video of a teen talking about how and why he reads and writes online. In other words, teens are at the center of the debate about reading online and as those serving teens in libraries we have to pay close attention to that debate.
  • The article was pretty positive in its approach to new formats and venues for reading.’  This positive approach isn’t always the case and this article gives you the opportunity to have at hand quotes, research, and material to show parents, administrators, colleagues, and community members. This can help you to help them understand all facets of the debate.’  This article (and series) provides great opportunities for educating your community about the positive impact of the web, chat, email, texting, and such on reading.
  • The comments on the New York Times web site connected to the article provide some very good insight into what people are thinking about reading, about teens, about the virtual and online world. Reading the comments can help anyone working with teens better understand how to educate community members about the importance of providing teens with opportunities to connect with reading in a variety of formats and not just through the traditional book.

When you read the article don’t miss the web extras which include that video of a teen mentioned above as well as links to research and other resources for learning about how and why teens read electronically. And, don’t forget to watch for the rest of the articles in the series.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

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