It also seems that in the digital age, skim reading has come to surpass deep reading as the norm. Digital readers tend to read in “an F or Z pattern,” sampling the first line of a piece and then word-spotting their way through the rest of it.
While this way of reading may serve as a means for obtaining the basic information contained in a piece, it doesn’t allow any time for perception, comprehension of complexities, empathy or the pleasure that comes from a reader’s ability to create their own thoughts as a result of what they’re reading. A group of researchers has also found that the negative effects of screen reading can be observed from “as early as fourth or fifth Grade,” levels.
Although neither Wolf or any of the researchers she sights seem to be advocating for a Luddite revolt against digital technologies, they are trying to draw attention to some of the pitfalls of an all-screen-reading experience on our brains and Wolf has called for the development of “a bi-literate reading brain capable of the deepest thought in either digital or traditional mediums.”
Reading print is therefore still good for your grey matter but that doesn’t mean you can’t also catch up on important information such as this on your phone too. Like most things it seems to be a case of keeping a balance between the two mediums until our brains develop a completely new digital reading circuitry that will lead to the development of god knows what kind of set of new emotions and characteristics.