Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Are People Spending Less Time Reading??

I came across an article on I09 titled Does anybody read books the right way any more? by Charlie Jane Ander. In the article, Ander writes the following:
And I'm not talking about paper versus digital. I'm talking about curling up with a good book, for hours. Sitting in a hammock, or in a chair by the fire, just totally pulled into a book. Is the long, totally focused book-reading session a thing of the past — and does this mean we're getting less immersed in our stories?  

We've never had more distractions keeping us from focusing totally on a book as we have today — in fact, sometimes it feels like half the non-fiction books published in a given week are bemoaning how distracted and overwhelmed with input we all are nowadays. But there are also plenty of signs that the way we're reading books is changing. Not because of e-books, per se — e-book readers do a good job of replicating the experience of reading a book on paper — but because our lives and relationships with technology are changing.
In this article Ander poses some really good questions like the following ones: "Are people spending less time reading?", "Is the amount of time per reading session going down?", "Does it make any difference if people use audiobooks instead of text?", and "Is reading a book like going into trance, or playing music?" I actually found reading the information provided for each question in the article to be interesting and thought provoking.

I enjoyed reading this rather lengthy article about whether people are reading less these days or not. The author sites several statistics from various studies to make her point. I particularly enjoyed learning about a 1988 study done by Victor Nell in Ander's article.
You can read Victor Nell's study, published in 1988, here — Nell argues that there's something called "ludic reading," which is basically reading for pleasure. Anything can be a vehicle for "ludic reading," even "a torn scrap of newsprint," but fiction is most often the focus. Nell did five different studies of what happens when you read for pleasure — and he did find that you slow down, but also that skilled readers "move freely between bolting text and savoring it," depending on whether they were at one of the good parts in the story. And he found some evidence that "ludic reading" causes cognitive changes in habitual readers.
I hope you find this article as engaging and thought provoking as I did! Until my next post, happy reading!

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