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Technology's Effect on Reading Skills

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Technology’s Effect on Reading Skills

Things are much different from the generation in which I grew up technology-wise. We had few television shows for kids other than Saturday morning cartoons. Computers, even the PCs at home, were used for accounting programs or very early e-mail. There were very few games for kids and it took those forever for them to load. There were not many game systems and none of them were portable. We also did not have the cell phones that are available now with internet access. We did not even have internet. Things have come a long way since then. Today’s kids have access to cell phones, iPods, tablets, laptops, and a lot more options available to them. Modern technology has had both a positive and a negative impact on the current generation's ability to improve their reading skills.

Kids growing up in 2015 are growing up in a different world. Life has a much faster pace in this era of technology. People can get things on demand and immediately. Kids in school have a harder time paying attention for long periods of time. This makes sitting still and paying attention to a teacher’s lecture difficult. It also makes getting past a possible slow part of a book or passage tough. Most of their electronics come with many different options and if they don’t like whatever is on they can change it. This makes teaching students what is needed for them to pass the standardized test very difficult. Another issue students have is lowered comprehension. Students tend to skim over the material in order to get through it faster to just find the answers to study questions. They don’t read it for enjoyment or for a deeper understanding. They try to multi-task by reading and doing something else at the same time. This also brings down the level of comprehension. For instance, there is a study that showed that students who watched the news had a deeper comprehension than those that watched the news with the ticker at the bottom of the screen. With so many different choices like video games, youtube videos, Twitter and Tumblr, and 15 million cable channels, books are rarely the entertainment of choice. Most kids only read the books that their teacher assigns. And they grumble at that. These students have no love of reading. Of losing yourself in a well written book that has you use your imagination to go to a world not your own. If they do read something it is likely to be something short like a comic book. Most kids today do not even know the classics. They only know Romeo and Juliet because of “Gnomeo and Juliet”. Most kids can not even tell you who William Shakespeare was. Video games not only take students attention away from reading but can also be very violent. The violence in video games can cause kids to act out and then they could miss teaching because of punishment. It could be a domino effect. Massive amounts of texting has affected this generation’s vocabulary. It has affected their speech patterns and caused some to have problems with reading “normal” English. Also, this abbreviated way of communicating spills over to the aforementioned need to skim over or speed up the process of reading.

There are also positive effects of technology on students’ reading skills. Children today have more information at their fingertips than ever before. In the 70’s if a student needed to do research for a paper they had to go to the library. There were also some families that had a copy of the entire collection of encyclopaedias. Now you can find a website about any topic within seconds and in your own home. The internet allows for students to look up information that they may not even be able to find in a library. Also on the internet you can see a copy of a rare book that you would never be able to see in person because it would be behind glass. E-books are easier to navigate to a certain page when needed. They also take up less room in the student’s backpack and hold multiple books at once. They are also portable and able to take along wherever you go. Some studies show that children who learn to read with the help of computer programs learn earlier. These children have increased self-confidence and self-esteem when they finally enter school. Because of more children learning computers earlier electronic technology should be used more in school. Using more visual based education may help students learn the information for standardized tests easier. Education needs to stay in tune with how the kids in school actually learn the best.

In conclusion, there are two sides to this issue of technology affecting reading skills. There are both positive and negative effects to introducing a lot of technology into our education system. Students are easily distracted with their shorter attention spans. Kids brought up in an era where there is no lack of immediate gratification have issues with patience to delve deeper. Kids are cutting their teeth on computerized learning programs earlier and earlier. Preschool programs are having to change their curriculum to accommodate the early readers. There has to be a way to bring technology into the classroom without leaving the classics behind.


1. Stuart Wolpert, January 27, 2009, http[->0]://[->1]newsroom[->2].[->3]ucla[->4].[->5]edu[->6]/[->7]releases[->8]/[->9]is[->10]-[->11]technology[->12]-[->13]producing[->14]-[->15]a[->16]-[->17]decline[->18]-79127[->19]
2. Judy C. Shaver, Beth S. Wise http[->20]://[->21]americanreadingforum[->22].[->23]org[->24]/[->25]yearbook[->26]/[->27]yearbooks[->28]/91_[->29]yearbook[->30]/[->31]pdf[->32]/12_[->33]Shaver[->34].[->35]pdf[->36]

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