This is the second post in my series of reading and interactive environments over at Jane Friedman’s blog.
The role of reading in American society is changing. We need look no further for evidence than research studies aggregated in books such as The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupifies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (or, Dont Trust Anyone Under 30) and Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses that examine the Millennial generation who neither read nor understand the fundamental cognitive structures developed by reading.
It is terrifying to read studies about the negative views of both students and professors in regards to reading. Its even more harrowing when combined with my own experience teaching writing and storytelling.
There are days, it seems, that literate Western Culture is destined for the scrap heap, replaced by a visual, interactive world that requires less cognitive interaction and creates less educated people. (I say this summarizing the research and not as an editorial statement.)
But what if the reading problem isnt as simple as forcing students to read and write more (which we should also do)? What if the problem is that authorship has changed in the digital, interactive age and writers — the keeper of words — have failed to understand their role within this environment?