chapter  5
16 Pages

Reading Onscreen and Online

ByMartha C. Pennington, Robert P. Waxler

The digital versions of print genres such as newspapers, magazines, and other forms of writing are typically not mere translations or simple uploadings of the offline versions to the online context. They have quickly evolved to new digital genres with interactive features, such as animated text and the ability to jump to different parts of the text and to supplementary material in textual and nontextual forms such as illustrations, music, and video and with their own aesthetic. Printed books help create attention and embodied experience, which enhances the depth, the complexity, and the significance of the reading experience in terms of the thoughts and emotions it triggers and the mental connections it forms to other experiences. Reading onscreen or online tends to foster a surface-oriented kind of attention driven by diversive curiosity rather than the deeper sort of reflection driven by epistemic curiosity that engenders deep thought and reflection.