How We Read: Close, Hyper, Machine

Critical Writing
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Guest lecture at Duquesne University.

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The crucial questions are these: how to convert the increased digital reading into increased reading ability and how to make effective bridges between digital reading and the literacy traditionally associated with print.

When it came to digital reading, however, they were accustomed to the scanning and fast skimming typical of hyperreading; they therefore expected that it might take them, oh, half an hour to go through Jackson’s text. They were shocked when I told them a reasonable time to spend with Jackson’s text was about the time it would take them to read Frankenstein, say, ten hours or so.

Reading has always been constituted through complex and diverse practices. Now it is time to rethink what reading is and how it works in the rich mixtures of words and images, sounds and animations, graphics and letters that constitute the environments of twenty-first-century literacies.

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Scott Rettberg