Reading in the era of digitisation: An introduction to the special issue
Digital technologies offer tremendous opportunities with respect to information access, storage and transmission, and digital reading environments offer ways to present information that are difficult or impossible to attain in text on paper. This is significantly changing the ways we read. Digital materials can be adapted to each individual’s skill level, enabling flexible learning processes to accommodate the particular needs and developments of each reader. At the same time, empirical research indicates that the affordances of screens may also foster less advantageous reading developments, habits and mind sets.
This warrants balancing the discourse on possibilities and advantages of digital technologies. To this purpose ‘Evolution of Reading in the Age of Digitisation’ (E-READ) — a research initiative funded by COST (European Cooperation in Science & Technology) as Action IS1404 — has brought together almost 200 scholars and scientists of reading, publishing, and literacy from across Europe. Starting from the assumption that the introduction of digital technologies for reading are not neutral regarding cognition and comprehension, the members of the network joined in an effort to research how readers, and particularly children and young adults, comprehend or remember written text when using print versus digital materials.
The articles in this special issue have been written by members of the EW-READ network to discuss indepth way a number of findings, hypotheses and recommendations that came out of their research about print versus screen reading.
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