Literacy in the 21st Century and Reading from the Screen

I attended a Library Network meeting not long ago where a point of discussion was the fact that the Headmaster at a well-known private Gold Coast school had culled all books from the Senior Library which had not been read for two years, given the remainder of the books to the Junior Library, and declared the Senior Library a digital resource space only. While I dearly love the internet and couldn’t imagine life without it, there are definite inherent problems with student focus, comprehension and deep thinking when reading text from the internet in contrast to text from print sources.  We are very fortunate at Brisbane Grammar School to have such an extensive collection of quality print books for our boys to access, in addition to all the online resources which we provide.

The following two screenshots come from this presentation by Barbara Combes, Lecturer at Edith Cowan University in WA:



In a similar vein is a book which many of you may have read:

The Shallows – What the Internet is doing to our brains

“Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? (

Both the presentation and the book reinforce the idea that digital literacy is certainly an issue which warrants constant review.