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Reading in the Age of Distrust

Project Information Literacy: “As soon as they begin college, course reading awaits them. Often students will be required to read texts closely, not just to glean important facts and figures, but to arrive at understanding through context, inference, and making connections of their own.For college students in America today, these reading competencies are not only essential for academic success, but for functioning in the workplace and participating in a society that is increasingly more divided than ever over the veracity of news and information. But how many faculty spend time talking to students about becoming stronger readers of all kinds of texts, not just assigned content? There’s the little-discussed skimming and scanning that most students have been doing since third or fourth grade for scrolling through social media feeds, news digests, and textbook assignments. Then there’s the college-level immersive reading for making sense out of texts that many professors in a variety of disciplines expect of them. Both types of reading co-exist in a world flooded by content. Both are situated in a context. Both are necessary. And yet, there’s every indication that discussions about the purpose of assigned readings and strategies for mastering the art of deep and analytical reading get short shrift in the majority of different courses students will take. While educators believe reading is an investment in learning and knowing, what many aren’t considering is what reading analytically means to civic life in the digital age when many of the old gatekeepers of traditional publishing are disappearing. As new voices have emerged and there is an explosion of reading material, there is also less quality control and editorial oversight for accuracy…”

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