In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774

How much digital reading stays inside you?

By Nat Hentoff

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For more than 80 years, reading in print has been as natural for me as breathing. Someone writing about one of my books -- not e-books -- described me as a "voracious reader."

That's why I've been skeptical about the growing number of online courses that students are taking and the diverse digital reading they do on their own.

How much of this kind of reading and learning, I wonder, gets and stays inside them?

I'm receiving credible answers from the author of a forthcoming book that should be a must-read for all Americans concerned with having future generations skilled in critical thinking.

The book, "Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World" (Oxford University Press, to be published next year), is by Naomi S. Baron, a professor of linguistics and executive director of the Center for Teaching, Research and Learning at American University.

Fortunately, you can now learn much of the essence of her research from her article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, "How E-Reading Threatens Learning in the Humanities" (July 14).

As the title indicates, the scope of Baron's research goes beyond online courses: "With the coming of e-readers, tablets and smartphones, reading styles underwent a sea change."

In all the intense arguments about educational reform, I've seen very little about this "sea change" in reading and how it will affect the depth and range of thinking by future generations of Americans.

Baron continues: "For the past five years, I've been examining the pros and cons of reading on-screen versus in print. The bottom line is that while digital devices may be fine for reading that we don't intend to muse over or reread, text that requires what's been called 'deep-reading' is nearly always better done in print ...

"Digital reading also encourages distraction and invites multitasking."

Her survey research included university students here and in Germany and Japan. And "among American and Japanese subjects, 92 percent reported it was easiest to concentrate when reading in hard copy (was necessary). (The figure for Germany was 98 percent.) ...

"Imagine wrestling with 'Finnegan's Wake' while simultaneously juggling Facebook and booking a vacation flight."

Of course, earlier in her article, Baron questions: "Are students even reading Milton or Thucydides or Wittgenstein these days?"

Or, I would add, how about Dostoevsky, Dickens, Mann and Tolstoy?

Among the common responses she got from students regarding what they most liked about reading in print (when they had to take time for it) was:

"I can write on the pages and remember the material easier," and "It's easier to focus."

Furthermore, "When asked what they liked least about reading on-screen, a number of Japanese students reported that it wasn't 'real reading,' while respondents from all three countries complained that they 'get distracted' or 'don't absorb as much.'"

And dig this from Naomi Baron: "My all-time favorite reply to the question 'What is the one thing you like least about reading in print?' came from an American:

"'It takes me longer because I read more carefully.' Isn't careful reading what academe was designed to promote?"

Baron's prime personal focus is the decline in in-depth digital-reading of the humanities, where readings "tend to be lengthy, intellectually weighty or both.

"The challenge of digital reading for the humanities is that screens -- particularly those on devices with Internet connections -- undermine our encounters with meaty texts. These devices weren't designed for focused concentration, reading slowly, pausing to argue virtually with the author, or rereading.

"Rather, they are information and communication machines, best used for searching and skimming -- not scrutinizing."

Think about that for a few moments: "not scrutinizing." In other words, not examining what's being communicated and not understanding how flimsy digital reading is.

Naomi Baron anxiously turns to what must be done if reading is to be "real."

"Teachers and scholars must look beyond today's (fashionable, speedy) career-mindedness in talking about challenges to the humanities."

And, I'd strongly add, talking about challenges to the Constitution and to educating individuals apart from collective standardized tests that negate personal scrutiny.

"We need," she emphasizes, "to think more carefully about students' mounting rejection of long-form reading, now intensified by digital technologies that further complicate our struggle to engage students in serious text-based inquiry."

As for me, I continue to cherish physical books I can hold -- that I delight in writing in, arguing with the authors and rereading as I learn more about the subjects elsewhere.

I have friends who are proud of their Kindles so full of e-books. How intimately do they know each of them?

From the time I was a kid, certain printed books became part of me. And I still dig daily into newspapers -- yes, newspapers -- with a pen, underlining surprises that challenge me and noting the names of the unfamiliar reporters so I can check their believability.

I don't dig skimming through life.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of several books, including his current work, "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance". Comment by clicking here.

Nat Hentoff Archives

© 2013, NEA