Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Is Literacy Changing?

Penguin Books is exploring the idea that the nonlinearity of information presented on the internet is transforming the way we read - and think. Jeremy Ettinghausen, Penguin's Digital Publisher, offers the example that teens start reading a web page at the center, with the eye bouncing to segments at the edge of the page when attracted visually. I can attest to the truth of this in my daily observation of my middle school students searching for information via the web. Will some declare that this nonlinear way of reading is not really literary? I think that argument is behind the disdain that has been the reaction to eBooks and the Kindle.

I've often heard audiobooks dismissed as "not really reading." I agree - they are an auditory medium for gathering story. I'm ready for the literary-medium class wars to be over. A good story is a good story - one that can hold its worth no matter what method is used to tell it. Join me in staying tuned to Penguin's exploration of new ways of nonlinear storytelling. Click here for a cryptic invitation to the adventure!

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