What counts as "reading"
UC Santa Barbara cultural studies professor Constance Penley, counter that when it comes to literacy among youth, there's entirely too much hand-wringing going on.
"They're reading; they're writing," she said, "just not in the ways we think of it."
According to Penley, we need to see video images and text messages as an evolution rather than a devolution of literacy.
Penley's colleague Alan Liu, an English professor, agreed: "Our kids are reading and writing like crazy," he said.
In 2005, Liu launched a UC-wide project, Transliteracies project, which has scholars studying the evolving definition of literacy in the digital age.
Among the things that make online reading unusual is that it adds a social dimension to literacy, Liu said. "We're researching what reading and writing is becoming if you redefine it to include this whole, thick social zone."
"We need to learn from them (teens)," Penley said. "Transliteracy is not starting from, It's bad,' but, What is reading in the digital era?'"