ATTENTION PLEASE! An Adaptive Approach to Print and Digital Literacies
Contemporary technological developments have drastically increased the amount of texts available through different media. It is often claimed a general shift has occurred from close reading, sustained and focused attention to the text, to hyperreading, non-linear, computer-assisted modes of reading such as skimming and scanning. Consequently, scholars of literature, reader research, neurological studies, pedagogy and psychology have expressed their fears that the ‘digital natives’ are losing the ability to concentrate. Meanwhile, print literacy skills obtained in school do not converge with digital reading tasks performed outside the classroom for leisure. The shift to online reading, therefore, entails a challenge for literature education: how to guide students in these new reading habits? Aiming to nuance some of the apocalyptic statements on reading in a digital age, in this lecture I argue for an adaptive approach to integrate print and digital literacies. This is a reading that oscillates between a range of ‘old’ and ‘new’ strategies, and zooms in an out between different scales of information.