As a member of the this Online Book Club you are expected to post to the book blog at least once per week between now and July 11 -- that's six weeks. You should finish your book before then, and you will meet during the Institute in your groups to extend the discussion and plan how to present the book to the others in the Institute.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

My thoughts on the first chapter

It’s really interesting to think about digital reading while doing digital reading. I see myself doing the reading from sort of a bird’s eye view, thinking about how my fellow book group members or my students might see me doing this reading. So when my eyes glaze over or I check Facebook or I skim over some lines, I’m conscious of how I might describe that moment in my reading process to another person, and I am likewise conscious of how I think students often think of reading, like it’s, ideally, this linear process of absorbing information—that distractions, connections, etc. (i.e., normal parts of reading) interrupt the flow of reading and indicate that they’re not good readers. 

I’m also conscious of how important a reader’s sense of purpose is. We talked about this in WAC. Jackie LaRose has this acronym—PESTILENCE—I have no clue what each letter is supposed to represent, but it’s something along the lines of, purpose (I think that’s the “P”) leads to engagement in reading. So when I get to the parts of this text that appear to be more oriented towards K-12 teachers (Lexile level, Common Core, etc.), I tend to drift off and pay less attention, skimming for the next line that looks like it might be relevant to me. So I’m aware of my multiple purposes in reading this: it was assigned (in a manner of speaking), I have to do this blog, I want to improve my pedagogy, I want to keep up with my book group. And as a reader, I am optimizing my time by focusing on the parts of the text that help me to accomplish most of those goals and skimming the parts that don’t. I’m also aware of the conflicts between those purposes and the other things I want to be doing: I want to be reading the fourth book in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, which I just got from the library yesterday; I want to read articles about politics or current events; I want to look over my family’s finances (we just bought a car this week, ugh); I want to do just about anything besides read a book on literacy, honestly. Would I call those things purposes? Maybe we can say there are “pro-homework” purposes and “anti-homework” purposes? That might be an interesting exercise actually… 

I was really glad to see this fact stated clearly:  “We cannot assume that adolescents today are digital natives’ (Prensky, 2001) who naturally gain close reading skills on a screen” (CR, p. 13). Over the last year or so, I’ve thought about this a lot in terms of writing, research, and tech usage in general, but I guess I’ve never really thought about it explicitly in terms of reading. So for instance, I assume that students don’t know how to do a lot of the things that are possible with word processing software, I assume that they don’t know all the different things they can do with search engines, with website design, etc. But I’ve never really paid specific attention to digital reading. So, like Laura, I often encourage students to print and highlight, because I don't know how to support effective digital reading. Meanwhile, I'm taking notes on Google Docs, saving quotes easily, looking things up, writing about the reading in a different tab—in short, all of the things I'd like my students to be doing—and I can only do so because I'm reading digitally. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this book. (And yes, I recognize that there's a contradiction between that statement and what I said in the last paragraph: that I'm not actually looking forward to reading it. I think I'm looking forward to having read it? But reading for work isn't super fun, especially during the summer.) I assume I'll have something more substantive to say once I've gotten further into this book. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your post, Joe.
    I have gotten through Ch 1 also and underlined quite a bit of it. I teach high school, so much of what they are talking about relates directly to my day-to-day classes. However, like you, many other things were jockeying for my attention. I underline (actively read), not only to keep track of what I feel is important, but also to keep my head in the game. I have played around a little with doing this digitally, but for now, I love the feel of a book in my hands and a pen in between my teeth, at the ready. For this reason, I am excited about the Crocodoc tool the authors mention on page 7. I want to play around with it and see if it could be useful for my students as they research and form their capstone research papers and projects.
    I liked the brief overview that they give starting on page 16. Much as you described, I am busy and really want to focus on the parts and pieces that will benefit my practice and thus my students. I feel like there will be a bit or piece of value in each chapter, if my underlining can be trusted. :)
    At any rate, I will be glad to have read this book. I like the way you phrased that. And I am glad to be reading it in a group with which I can process and evaluate the information. Viva la critical reading, digital or otherwise!
    Peace for your reading.