Teaching students to read well in the digital environment
There is no question about it. Reading texts in a digital format is commonplace today, including in our schools. Neither is their much doubt about how convenient digital texts can be, nor that most of our students prefer them over print versions.
A recent article by Tim Walker in neaToday presents an interview with researcher Dr. Patricia Alexander that asks the question we should be asking: “Does digital reading improve student learning?” Dr Alexander’s research suggests that it does not. In fact, she concludes that students read faster and comprehend less when using a digital compared to a print text.
Does this mean that teachers should abandon digital texts and return to using only print texts? This would seem like an over-reaction, excluding us from all the access and convenience that the digital world has brought to us. Dr Alexander recommends teaching students to slow down while they are reading digitally to make sure they are processing the words on the screen.
How do you, or could you, do this in your classroom? Have you tried any strategies for increasing student focus and comprehension when reading digital texts? Please share in the comments below so that we may all benefit from your ideas and experience as we try to make the wisest use of the technology God has gifted our generation with.