Why is it zero-sum, though? Surely it’s good to be able to skim when needed. Why does one take away from the other? This is a question that requires a very careful attempt at explanation. It’s not zero-sum, but we have grown used to skimming.
Fiction simulates the social world and invites us into the minds of characters. This has led various researchers to suggest that reading fiction improves our understanding of others’ cognitive and emotional states. Kidd and Castano (2013) received a great deal of attention by providing support for this claim. Their article reported that reading segments of literary fiction (but not popular fiction or nonfiction) immediately and significantly improved performance on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET), an advanced theory-of-mind test.
There are multiple benefits to reading kids hard books, he argues. Some are obvious, like exposing them to more complex vocabulary. Some are less so, such as exposing them to more complicated sentences and more elaborate plot lines, which better prepares them for when they encounter those on their own further down the road.From Once your kids can read easy books, start reading them hard ones, says reading expert Doug Lemov — Quartz
A growing share of Americans are reading e-books on tablets and smartphones rather than dedicated e-readers, but print books remain much more popular than books in digital formatsFrom Majority of Americans are still reading print books | Pew Research Center
Piles of books were left in high-traffic locations around NYC which were all taken and have now travelled to more than 30 countries as part of The Reading Project. Part-commentary on the way we live today and part-experiment, the project saw stacks of books accompanied only by a simple note that encouraged passers-by to take a book for free, read it and on completing the book, email me.From Reading Project — MADE BY SHERRY
Comprehension matters, but so does pleasure. In Proust and the Squid, Wolf, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University, observes that the brain’s limbic system, the seat of our emotions, comes into play as we learn to read fluently; our feelings of pleasure, disgust, horror and excitement guide our attention to the stories we can’t put down. Novelists have known this for a long time, and digital writers know it, too.
Although the study did not account for e-books, as they’re not yet available in enough countries, Dr. Evans said in theory they could be just as effective as print books in encouraging literacy.
“But what about the casual atmosphere of living in a bookish world, and being intrigued to pull something off the shelf to see what it’s like?” she asked. “I think that will depend partly on the seamless integration of our electronic devices in the future.”
And what is good spelling worth lately? A few years ago, the New York Times ran an op-ed by Virginia Heffernan that fetishized typos in the digital age because when spell-check fails because “curious readers…get regular glimpses of raw and frank and interesting mistakes that give us access to unedited minds.” That may be true, but even in the age of emoji and spellcheck, the ability to privilege bad spelling—both as a reader and as a writer—leans in part on being a fluent speller in the first place, certified as worthy to receive, judge, and transmit culture and knowledge.