Are Web Articles Interfering With Your Ability to Read Books?

Have you tried to pick up a book lately—and actually READ for a while? If it feels like reading a book is harder than it used to be, the Internet may to blame. is reporting that scientists are concerned that the attention and focus required for sustained, deep reading is being undermined by online habits that encourage skimming and skipping.


Claire Handscombe, a 35-year-old graduate student in creative writing at American University, says that paying attention while reading a book is more difficult for her than it used to be.


She says “It’s like your eyes are passing over the words but you’re not taking in what they say. When I realize what’s happening, I have to go back and read again and again.”


Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf says “I worry that the superficial way we read during the day is affecting us when we have to read with more in-depth processing,” she says.


And Andrew Dillon, a University of Texas professor who studies reading, says “We’re spending so much time touching, pushing, linking, scrolling and jumping through text that when we sit down with a novel, your daily habits of jumping, clicking, linking are just ingrained in you. We’re in this new era of information behavior, and we’re beginning to see the consequences of that.”


Another study has found that teens don’t read much for fun anymore, according to a study by Common Sense Media. About 45% of 17-year-olds say they only read for pleasure once or twice a year. About 27% of those teens—and 22% of 13-year-olds—say they “never” or “hardly ever” read for fun.


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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