Education Week - November 9, 2016 - 9
Perhaps the biggest difference between print and online reading is that the latter introduces decisionmaking.
"Print reading is very much there's a dead end-it's
isolated reading," said Katharine Hale, the instructionaltechnology coordinator at Gunston Middle School in Arlington, Va. "Digital reading is more like a 'choose your
own adventure.' You can click on something else and
continue on again."
In other words, reading goes from being a linear experience in print to being a nonlinear one online. Teachers need to be direct about that difference, experts said,
showing students that sometimes it's OK to stop and
click on a link or watch a video in the middle of an article if it will help them understand the content better.
"We need to teach young children digital text is hyperlinked and networked, and you go from one place
to another, and it's not left to right," said Turner. "I've
had students successfully do that in early elementary
by having them click on hyperlinks and talking about,
where did that take me? The idea is being very explicit
and not just assuming they have the knowledge."
At the same time, students need to see that, while the
format is different, the purpose of reading remains the
same. "When you think about comprehension strategies,
they work whether you're reading a blog post or watching video or reading a print book," said Sibberson, who
co-wrote a book with Bass in 2015 called Digital Reading:
What's Essential in Grades 3-8.
Some studies have shown that students struggle more
with comprehension on digital devices than print materials. A 2012 study by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at
Both printed texts and digital
readers have their places in a
3rd grade classroom at Indian
Run Elementary School in
Maddie McGarvey for Education Week
The transition from looking at words and text in print
to viewing it on screen isn't hard at all for young students, said Karen Pelekis, a 1st grade teacher in Scarsdale,
N.Y. "It's just a natural extension of how they already see
the world. It's what they're already exposed to."
Teachers can also use modeling to show young children how to navigate an online space, such as a webbased article with hyperlinks and multimedia.
"We talk about text features in books-indentation,
the big first letter at the beginning of a chapter, what a
chapter means," said William L. Bass II, the innovation
coordinator for instructional technology, information,
and library media for the Parkway district in Chesterfield, Mo. "But what about those text features that are
inside of web pages? What is this underlined blue thing?
Why did the author choose to make that a link?"
The Changing Face of Literacy / www.edweek.org/go/changing-literacy