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People of the Screen

“People of the Screen,” is to me, a highly biased opinion piece on what Christine Rosen calls the death of “print literacy”. She believes that what she calls “digital literacy,” will soon completely take the place of books. I have to highly disagree with her. The internet and other such technologies have opened man kinds eyes to entirely new way of receiving, gathering, and sharing information, but no website, television show, or technological device will ever take over the place of a book. Books have been for hundreds of years the only possible way to track and record history. I can argue this because in the last hundred years books have continued to be printed and published in higher numbers consistently.
Christine also brings to light some studies that were done showing that an individual who does leisure reading is technically more engaged in every day life. I can agree that a person who reads more might possibly be more well versed in the knowledge that surrounds all of us, but I find it really hard to believe that there is a connection between leisure reading and being an engaged citizen.
I also admire her stance that reading for pleasure is a characteristic that is instilled at a very young age and the determining factor is ultimately the parents. The parents should be responsible for helping their children grow intellectually by reading to and providing books to their children. I think everyone can agree that you are more likely to succeed in life if you can read and write.
I say that this piece is biased because Christine throws some tid bits in the article about supporters of a “digital literacy” over that of “print literacy,” but she quickly disregards that which those supporters have to say as obtuse and misguided. She talks about the screen as some thing that has only brought destruction to the age of books. In many ways the Internet and TV have opened an entirely new and innovative way for people to learn. I can agree that reading on the screen can be somewhat distracting sometimes, but it is often useful to have several windows open doing multiple things at once. It is called multi tasking and it is the reason why human beings are at the top of the food chain.
I believe that reading from a book is a great and probably one of the best ways to learn about something, but Rosen describes it, as the end all, be all. When a supporter suggests that the screen also offers an innovative way to learn something based on putting yourself in the position of a character in video games or something of the sort, Rosen quickly denies this saying that when trying to learn in this form, the person in control and cannot possibly learn anything because of this. She suggests that in a book when must first surrender any consumptions that they might have had and accept that they are not in control, that they are the novice and the writer is the ultimate teacher.
I think the article is very well written and that she makes some good point that I myself can definitely back up, because I too am a firm believer in the power of the word in its oldest from. But to say that nothing is to be gained from the screen is absurd. I believe as some do in the article that the two can coincide and that they can build off of each other seeing as how things today are so utterly interdependent in the world we live in.

Comments

I think the whole idea of people of the screen is not just about whether or not books will still continue to exist, but in what form will they continue to exist. People won’t entirely stop reading, that idea is completely absurd, but how will they be reading. I think a future filled with screens is something that is very predictable. We can still tech or kids to read at a young age, but their picture books might not be the same as what we were taught to read on. The idea of the kindle is very interesting. The thought that we would be able to have endless books, carried around on one small device is amazing. The more this idea catches on, the cheaper they will become. Along with cheaper, they will be more practical than books as well. They take up less space, and are greener, because they require no paper to be used during the process. We have used books for centuries, but only because there hasn’t been ant other options. The last major invention in books has been the printing press, but we adjusted to that just fine. You don’t see people walking around with hand written publications, any more. It’s about time that our world adjust to digital literacy. Many people have already come accustomed to it. By the time our children grow up, it will most likely be the most popular form of literacy around.

I share many beliefs with you on the subject of online reading etc. I can agree with you when you say that starting to read at a young age is vital in the development of the mental. Reading books can help you to gain a broader understanding of the rest of the world when often people are complacent and satisfied with only knowing what they see. You said that you did not see the connection between reading in your leisure time and being an engaged citizen? Without books, many people would not even know the definition of a citizen. By reading, we can further our knowledge of the happenings of other countries and people. In one of my classes this semester I have read a few multicultural pieces of literature, including the bestseller A Long Way Gone. This story was a memoir written by Ishmael Beah where he explains his life as a boy soldier in the middle of tumultuous Sierra Leone. Reading this story helped me to gain an deeper understanding of what Africa was going through. By gaining this knowledge I am now able to talk with people about the problems going on and explain that something needs to be done over there. I would say that reading to citizenship is more of an in direct correlation, but a strong correlation none the less. Reading from the screen is a great tool in my eyes. Not many people have time or desire to go to a library anymore and it is dumbing down our culture. By putting literature on the internet it puts knowledge only a click of the mouse away, catering to our ever changing tech society.

I totally agree with your position about the article. Despite the increasing growth of the use of the internet, books are still the dominant literature in the world. As you said, it should stay that way. Of course this is for many reasons. For one, books are more reliable than the internet. Because of the fact that anyone can say anything on the internet without being punished so easily and for free, the internet is filled with opinions based on the judgment of the blogger or who ever. For a book to be published, it has to go through a rigorous system of proof readings and quality checking in order to be released into the world. By going through such a system the book has proven to have evidence as to whatever it tries to argue and therefore becomes reliable.
You also imply a notion that the transition into “digital literacy” will decrease the literacy rate in the next generation or even perhaps this generation. The point about the parents being responsible for getting their kids into reading is very interesting. My parents did not give much of an effort to me and as a result I hate to read. I have a friend that spent much of his childhood reading and reads a lot of books just for fun now.
Finally, the world is able to live with more than one type of literacy. Even though the internet is riddled with opinionistic bloggers who will not budge on their positions, some sources are scholarly and can be used for a paper or whatever. If students and other people are able to use books as well as the scholarly sources found on the internet, they can better understand the world that they live in.

I believe that Christine Rosen was not at all from my point of view being biased, of course there is no such thing as a non-biased article, but she did her best in finding both sides of the situation of book readings versus screen readings. After reading Christine Rosen’s article she is did not published this article for the purpose of expressing her opinions on book reading and screen reading. She published this article to educate us on it. She used very clear facts and sources to prove both sides. You then stated in your position paper ”I also admire her stance that reading for pleasure is a characteristic that is instilled at a very young age and the determining factor is ultimately the parents. The parents should be responsible for helping their children grow intellectually by reading to and providing books to their children. I think everyone can agree that you are more likely to succeed in life if you can read and write.” Rosen has no stance, if you read carefully she clearly states in the article that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) published a report, To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence are the ones who did the research. It seems like you are putting her on the spot light when she has no stance and she has no suggestions in this topic, she is just doing her research from both side’s story. I do agree that screen readings is just as important as book readings, both are done differently and they can teach young kids from different angles. For example, to have a child be in control of destiny on a screen reading format or to have a child be followers of the author’s book.

I agree with your position towards Christine Rosen article. Books are always going to be useful because with all the new technology and more technology to come books hasn't gone out of style and they still won't in the future. "Christine also brings to light some studies that were done showing that an individual who does leisure reading is technically more engaged in every day life", I don't agree with this statement either because my sister reads alot and she has alot of knowledge about many things, but thats doesn't necessarily means that she is more engages in every day than I am. I agree with waht you said "I find it really hard to believe that there is a connection between leisure reading and being an engaged citizen" because people can be engaged citizens by helping out with community projects or volunteering some where and etc. and don't do that much reading at all. Obviously if you are illerate you will not get that far in life and that is just common sense. I don't find reading on the screen distracting I would personally rather reading things on a screen instead of fliping through many pages of several books. I don't think there will ever be an end to books, but people have there own preference on ways in which they want to learn new things some would prefer screen over books and others would prefer books over screens. I think that her article is just an issue with the use of technolgy and how much it is increasing.

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