Chapter 2: Rethinking Comprehension in a Digital Age: Connected Reading

An Emerging Model of Reading Comprehension in a Digital World What, How and Why Do Teens Read Digitally?

The process of "reading" is complicated by many factors including experience, skills, motivation, interest the reader brings to the text, and the difficulty and reading level of the text itself.

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  • Encounter – Readers encounter a text through receiving, searching, surfing, or stumbling
  • Engage – Processes of the reader before, during, and after reading a text through curating, deciding, reading, and sharing
  • Evaluate – Finding value in the text for the individual reader including personal opinions, interests, employing digital tools, and judging a text.

After the reader encounters the text, readers engage and evaluate the text simultaneously in a circular fashion, finally sharing the text with other readers.

Here are some resources students can use to find digital texts and books online:

Theoretical Influences of Connected Reading

What are some strategy-based approaches for reading comprehension for students?

  • Activate prior knowledge
  • Ask questions
  • Infer
  • Visualize
  • Determine importance
  • Summarize
  • Synthesize

Many of these strategies can be transferred to digital texts and hyperlinked texts.

What are some new principles in New Literacy, regarding a shift to digital and Internet based readings?

  1. Internet defines this generation in learning and literacy
  2. Internet and related technologies require additional new literacies to access full potential
  3. New literacies are deictic (contextual)
  4. New literacies are multiple and multimodal
  5. Critical literacies central to new literacies
  6. New forms of strategic knowledge needed for new literacy
  7. New social practices are central with new literacies
  8. Teachers are more important, through role changes, within a new literacy classroom








Within New Literacy, hypertext emerged. Hypertext is a computer/electronically displayed text where students can access references and other links immediately, which demands the readers participation.

The following chart illustrates the differences between printed and hypertextual features.

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Theoretical Influences of Connected Learning

Connected Learning is when a person connects their interests and learning to academic achievement and civic engagement through digital and networked media. Connected Learning is:
  1. Peer Supported
  2. Interest Powered
  3. Academically Oriented
  4. Production Centered
  5. Shared Purpose
  6. Openly Networked
  7. Challenging
  8. Requires Active Participation
  9. Interconnected
  10. Socially Supported
  11. Accessible
  12. Open and Diverse

The diagram below demonstrates the many aspects of Connected Learning and how these factors can benefit a student in your classroom.
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Listed are some websites to further explain the significance of connected learning in the classroom today:


Contextual Factors and Reader Attributes

Every reader brings their own personal and prior knowledge into context to individualize the reading. Rosenblatt illustrates these concepts in her work, The Reader, the Text, the Poem: The Transactional Theory of Literary Work. She emphasizes that teaching must acknowledge the role of self-selected, interest-driven reading, for when teens read things that interest them they can readily connect with others who share their interests.

Connected Reading, Not Just Digital Reading

Connected Reading not only involves reading texts online or digitally, but sharing and networking with others to share experiences as well. Students must ask questions such as:
  • "What does this text mean to me?"
  • "Did this interest me?"
  • "How was I engaged in reading these texts?"
  • "Do other people have similar reactions to me?