Sunday, July 21, 2013

How long will written text be important?

Kelly Gallagher the author of Reversing Redicide (2010) said "Educators know the commonly cited culprits behind the decline of reading: poverty, lack of parent education, print-poor environments at home, second-language issues, the over scheduling of children, and competition from electronic media."

 I want to reflect upon my own household.  We are very fortunate to not be impacted by the first four culprits listed above;  however, we are severely impacted by the last two.  I have 3 children, all three have a passion to reading (I thank their mother for this).  I would like to study the habits of my oldest who is 9. He is currently reading at the 9th grade reading level in both fluency and comprehension.  The kid is scary smart.  Without sounding egotistical he got my natural gift as an auditory learner and his mother's passion for reading.   This passion for reading still takes a back seat to electronic media.  You give him a choice between the iPad or a book and it iPad 100% of the time.  What has been fostered in him though is that when the iPad is in "time out" the first thing he reaches for is a book.  The thing we struggle with at home is, how to teach him how to "self police" that.

Books are continually taking a back door to electronic media, even if the student has a love for reading. The big question I have is, "Is there a link between reading fluency and comprehension and audio visual fluency and comprehension?"  In other words can a poor reader still critically analyze film for example?  Also if you look at story telling over the course of history the medium has changed, from pictographs on caves, to oral tradition, to written.  These changes occurred over thousands of years.  It is hard to imagine, but are we in a transitional time from written form to a more audio visual form?

Technology has fostered each of those changes, and is it possible that technology is changing the medium again?  As digital media continues to become easier to create we are leveling the playing field for both authors and consumers of that type of content.  Will reading and writing ever become a "niche" art form and everything else is communicated audio visually, much like painting, and oral storytelling has become today? These are big questions that we have to answer, and are not going to be answered anytime soon, but in my mind these are huge questions that we need to answer.

Gallagher, K. (2010). Reversing readicide. Reading to Learn, 67(6), 36-41.

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