There’s a level of public anxiety that at times approaches moral panic around the argument that those born into a digital age have lost the ability as well as the desire to read or write long-form text. That anxiety haunts higher education, too. From rigorous research in the reading-heavy disciplines to conversations among colleagues after class, the internet is often held as responsible for the failure of too many of our students to be able to read enough disciplinary material in enough depth to allow them to take the next steps in the dialogic that constitutes a university education. We look to research that suggests that to blame changing technology is at best an oversimplification. While the capacity to deep read complex texts and to respond orally and in writing are foundational skills that are complicated by the rise of digital technologies, research on what has come to be termed reading non-compliance suggests the problem is of much longer standing. The ways in which we engage text may have changed, but the failure to read for class preceded digital technologies and their distractions (Hobson). We argue we can best serve our students now by encouraging biliteracy (Wolf and Barzillai) so they are able to shift between the reading-for-information that involves scanning, clicking, and linking, and the deep, immersive reading vital for the rich and productive engagement that enables critical, creative, and ethical learning.
- Deep reading
- digital reading: hospitable reading
- reading technologies
- student engagement