Why higher-level reading is important


  • André Schüller-Zwierlein Regensburg University
  • Anne Mangen University of Stavanger, Norway
  • Miha Kovač University of Ljubljana
  • Adriaan van der Weel University of Leiden




Societies are facing fundamental transformations as digital technologies are changing the ways we live, interact, work, study and read. The social and cultural impact of the digitization process on reading skills and practices remains under-researched. While digital technologies offer much potential for new forms of reading, recent empirical research shows that the digital environment is having a negative impact on reading, in particular on long-form reading and reading comprehension. It also remains unclear whether the transition to digital media actually lives up to its promise of improving learning outcomes. Recent studies of various kinds indicate a decline of crucial higher-level reading competencies and practices, such as critical and conscious reading, slow reading, non-strategic reading and long-form reading. Current educational policy, meanwhile, relies heavily on monocultural standardized testing of basic reading capabilities and on growing use of digital technologies. Reading education, assessment, research and policy-making should focus more on higher-level reading practices in both adults and children in order to understand the development of reading skills and practices in an age increasingly dependent on a ubiquitous digital infrastructure.

Author Biographies

André Schüller-Zwierlein, Regensburg University

Director of Regensburg University Library

Anne Mangen, University of Stavanger, Norway

Professor of Literacy at the Norwegian Reading Centre, at the University of Stavanger, Norway

Miha Kovač, University of Ljubljana

Professor of Publishing Studies at the University of Ljubljana

Adriaan van der Weel, University of Leiden

Professor Emeritus of Book Studies at Leiden University




How to Cite

Schüller-Zwierlein, A., Mangen, A., Kovač, M., & van der Weel, A. (2022). Why higher-level reading is important. First Monday, 27(5). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v27i5.12770