The New York Times article "Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?" has made its way across the education blogosphere in recent weeks as educators, students, and parents weigh-in on the merits and criticisms of reading Internet text.
There's little doubt in my mind that novel reading and Internet reading are different. Sure, both activities involve the processes of reading, yet most of the digital reading I do is efferent reading - reading done to elicit facts or information. When I sit down to read a novel, I am reading aesthetically - becoming absorbed in the world of the text as I attempt to recreate it in my mind and experience it as the characters do.
I don't think one is better than the other. I believe they're complimentary. It's also certainly possible to find aesthetic texts on the Internet - serial novels, poetry, short stories - and there's no doubt millions of efferent texts exist in print (textbooks, newspapers, encyclopedias, manuals, etc).
What is your digital reading experience like? Does it dominate or compliment your overall reading identity? Do you agree that digital reading is the "intellectual equivalent of empty calories" or is it "cognitively demanding" and legitimate?