Does the reading medium matter?
Posted September 26, 2014on:
The WSJ wants you to know that “at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading with a book or e-book helps” your brain and reduces stress. But they would prefer that you read a book. Quietly. Or snuggle up with a newspaper perhaps?
I would argue that I have the same gains (and then some more) by dedicating at least 30 minutes of reading my Twitter stream or RSS feeds.
Here are the gains blow by blow.
Deepens empathy and provides pleasure
I am not sure how any book or e-resource actually deepens real empathy, but I find reading off my screens pleasurable. I take even greater pleasure in that I can hyper read to learn something more deeply or to explore more widely.
Being able to stay on task on a screen that produces an occasional pop-up and reading while balancing in careening public transport takes a lot of concentration. Dealing with a quick reply and then having the discipline to return to task is also a form of concentration.
Enhances comprehension, particularly of complex material and Enriches vocabulary
The fact that I can fact check and look for definitions online more easily than I can with a book definitely improves my comprehension and vocabulary.
Improves listening skills
I do not know how reading a book quietly to yourself does this. But I do know that my computing devices can read to me if my hands or eyes need to be elsewhere.
It is certainly relaxing to be able to be able to read for a one 30-minute stretch. I do not mind if I get ten 3-minute moments of reading too.
So does the medium matter as long as I achieve the same gains?
More importantly, does the medium matter if I learn to read in a way that is more relevant?