By Ryan Kendrick –
Challenge: Can you read this entire article without skimming through bits and pieces or getting lost in your twitter feed?
Do you feel like it is harder to read a novel assigned by your English teacher? Have you ever missed an easy question on a test because you didn’t read the directions?
Studies suggest that this is because people who constantly use the internet have adopted a habit of reading in an F-Shaped formation. They read the first couple lines of the first paragraphs, then continue to scan the rest of the paragraph, looking for key words that stick out to them. They do the same for the next paragraph, but decide to read and scan faster, looking for something to jump out of them.
By doing this, you soak in a few main topics, but you don’t realize how much of the actual story you are missing. An article done by Jakob Nielsen shows a heatmap of where our eyes spend the most time looking at, and as you see, it is in the general shape of an F ( Photo is at the end of my article ). Nicholas Carr wrote an article explaining what many teens and young adults feel when they attempt to “deep read”. His article actually received so much buzz, it was used in standardized tests all across the nation.
“Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.”
Hey! Yes you! Did you dose out during that quote? Because of this new difficulty to read, many students have relied on “sparknoting” a book in order to fully understand the importance of it. No longer do you see many teenagers in the library. For instance, the library at our school is full of people who are just waiting for practice, instead of trying to read a book. The room is so loud and crowded, it is hard to even concentrate on one person, yet alone read a whole book.
The internet is accessible to us all of the time, and therefore, open to an endless amount of information. In order to soak up as much information as possible, many people decide to skim multiple websites and sources. On average, teenagers spend 31 hours every week online. However, they only spend an average of 15 seconds on a single web page. With these 15 seconds, there is no way you can remember, yet alone read the whole page.