We are not taking time to think about and examine what we are reading. We are hardly taking the time to read past the headlines. It’s having a dramatic effect on us.

We need to cultivate the capacity for deeper forms of thought and critical analysis. To do otherwise is to become susceptible to other people’s views and wishes. This is how we become less self-reliant and less able to discern what is true and what is not.

Without critical thought, whomever screams the loudest will therefore get our attention. Sleazy salespeople and fraudsters will successfully sell us snake oil and empty promises.

We do not err as a society when we innovate, but when we ignore what we disrupt or diminish while innovating. In this hinge moment between print and digital cultures, society needs to confront what is diminishing in the expert reading circuit, what our children and older students are not developing, and what we can do about it.

We know from research that the reading circuit is not given to human beings through a genetic blueprint like vision or language; it needs an environment to develop. Further, it will adapt to that environment’s requirements – from different writing systems to the characteristics of whatever medium is used. If the dominant medium advantages processes that are fast, multi-task oriented and well-suited for large volumes of information, like the current digital medium, so will the reading circuit. As UCLA psychologist Patricia Greenfield writes, the result is that less attention and time will be allocated to slower, time-demanding deep reading processes, like inference, critical analysis and empathy, all of which are indispensable to learning at any age.

Read more, please, at The Guardian