James Nahachewsky (PhD) is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy and curriculum studies. His research examines the impact of young peoples’ digital reading on teaching and learning, and multiliteracies’ pedagogy towards an education for social justice.
Co-Author: Sam Liu
Changing reading for changing lives? Understanding the digital reading experiences of Canadian youth
This presentation shares findings from a 2019 study (n=271) on Canadian youths’ digital reading experiences. It is intended for literacy researchers, educators and policy makers who are interested in the impact of ever-changing digital technologies on contemporary young peoples’ reading experiences and proficiencies.
Although Canadian youth continue to perform well in reading proficiency, ranking fourth overall in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), average Canadian PISA reading scores are at their lowest level since 2000. As in most Western countries, Canadian youth’s reading preferences and experiences have changed during that time alongside ever-evolving reading technologies. Screens and paper each afford their own types of reading experiences and processing. This paper presentation examines findings from a 2019 survey of Grade 7 students (n=271) in a School District on Canada’s west coast that examined, in part, their digital-based and paper-based reading preferences and experiences. The study found that the students expressed little differentiation between screen and page in terms of their reading comprehension, attention or proficiency. Yet, a majority of students stated their preference for paper-based reading in relation to school-based tasks and long-form fiction. An equal number of respondents found the connected nature of e-reading to be equally helpful and distracting, while a majority of students appreciated the mobility and diverse, multi-modal content of digital-based reading technologies. As literacy researchers, educators and policy makers continue to work towards a better understanding of the impact of digital technologies on contemporary youths’ changing reading processes and lives, this research provides a valuable set of findings from which to compare and build upon.