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March 2009 | Volume 66 | Number 6
Literacy 2.0 Pages 38-41

The Best of Both Literacies

Margaret Weigel and Howard Gardner

Three modes of literacy learning capitalize on technology's strengths while mitigating its shortcomings.

Reading performance among U.S. adolescents and young adults has declined sharply during the last two decades. So has the amount of voluntary reading these groups do. Simultaneously, use of the new digital media is on the rise (National Endowment for the Arts, 2007). The same students who snub traditional literary works and genres now spend an average of four hours a day online—browsing Web sites, playing video games, and text messaging one another (Rideout, Roberts, & Foehr, 2005).

How can schools respond to these troubling trends? The wise educator needs to incorporate the benefits of the new digital media while guarding against their pitfalls, including the threat to literacy levels.

Online Reading versus Offline Reading


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