Language development starts with the ‘LSRW’ skill development.
Reading, though is third in the row plays a vital role in learning. It is not only required to concentrate on vocabulary development in languages but also for developing creative thinking. Reading closes windows and opens doors of wisdom. This activity is considered the base of revolutions around the world. Ideas formed and expressed while writing, when transforms, influences other minds to become ‘enlightened’.
Reading took a new dimension during industrial revolution with the advent of ‘printed books’. This was an activity which when cultivated among the intellects, changed the face of the world. Today, reading has become more than a medium of expression. Globalization has changed the very outlook of this skill as – knowledge, applicable and building a digitally aware citizen. Reading is more online rather than offline. Era of sending letters and postcards has changed to exchanging emails and online greeting cards. Chat rooms, forum discussions, blogs are sources where people can upload and connect with the like-minded.
In this fast changing scenario, what change has happened in the field of Reading?
Online Reading has taken prominence, let’s take a quick look at the differences between online and offline reading.
Offline reading means carry the book on move. It becomes difficult as it is both bulky and time consuming. A book often does not give meanings of basal words for which it is not recommended. Example: A book of chemistry, may carry the word ‘statistically’ but no emphasize of what statistics means would be provided. The reader needs a dictionary to look up into the meaning and apply to the context, which is again time consuming. Offline reading is directional and may have only one topic to move forward. References provided need another book or article to be read to understand the base of the material.
Online reading can be called as multidimensional. Words and phrases which are difficult can be searched either through hyperlinks provided by the author or in the very next tab opened besides the reading article. Online reading is becoming more operative due to the very ease of carrying. Space and storage has shrunk, and a library load of books can be accommodated in a mobile phone or a USB.
The major advantage of online reading is in the availability of multitude of media plugins along the reading material. Articles embedded with podcasts, videos give the reader an experience that helps them reinforce their reading. Online reading facilitates ‘zoom’ option for better visual experience.
All said the reader needs to understand the basic necessities of online reading. The major problem countries are facing are due to cutting down of trees. One of the prime purposes to cut down trees is to make paper. Use of e-paper will help us build a sustainable future. Schools have already started their focus in this direction by giving tablets to their students rather than text books. Students can use mobile apps of text books which help them visualise the content of the material and allow them to look into diverse features of the same material. Understanding the very fact that opening the internet needs to done ‘with care’, avoidance may not be the best resolution. ‘Kindling thought process’ and ‘making them aware’ are the only options available, since we cannot stop the fast moving digital natives.