Why Reading Books Still Matters: The Power of Literature in Digital Times, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Why Reading Books Still Matters

The Power of Literature in Digital Times, 1st Edition

By Martha C. Pennington, Robert P. Waxler


246 pages

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pub: 2017-09-06
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Bringing together strands of public discourse about valuing personal achievement at the expense of social values and the impacts of global capitalism, mass media, and digital culture on the lives of children, this book challenges the potential of science and business to solve the world’s problems without a complementary emphasis on social values. The selection of literary works discussed illustrates the power of literature and human arts to instill such values and foster change. The book offers a valuable foundation for the field of literacy education by providing knowledge about the importance of language and literature that educators can use in their own teaching and advocacy work.


"This is an important book that builds a strong case for the value of literature, literary reading, and book culture in the school curriculum…. [It] stands as a wake-up call regarding our current screen-based culture and curricular focus on technology, science, and practical skills, arguing that they do not provide a sufficient basis for developing the full potential of children."

From the Foreword by Jack C. Richards, University of Sydney and University of Auckland

"This very engaging and timely book has a clear, strong argument and is accessible. It engages with several questions about information consumption and will help shape public opinion."

Sonya Huber, Fairfield University, USA

"I am in the choir already and agree with the authors on the decline of literature in our schools and lives. This book will bring heightened awareness to the field especially among English/language arts preservice and inservice providers."

Michael Moore, Georgia Southern University, USA

Table of Contents

Forward by Jack C. Richards



Chapter 1. The Value of a Literate Culture

Chapter 2. A Sketch of our World, Current and Future

Chapter 3. The Digital World

Chapter 4. Living Life Onscreen and Online

Chapter 5. Reading Onscreen and Online

Chapter 6. Education and Literacy in Digital Culture

Chapter 7. How Fiction and Poetry Work Their Magic

Chapter 8. A Closer Look at Reading

Chapter 9. Psychological Effects of Reading Literature

Chapter 10. We Point the Way and Take You Halfway There

Chapter 11. Mapping an Alternative Future

About the Authors

Martha C. Pennington is Professorial Research Associate in the Department of Linguistics, School of Oriental and African Studies, and Research Fellow in the Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK.

Robert P. Waxler is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA, and cofounder of Changing Lives Through Literature.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Aims & Objectives
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Reading & Phonics