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The End of Reading

From Gutenberg to "Grand Theft Auto</I>

Series:

David Trend

Big changes have been taking place in reading in recent years. While American society has become more visual and digital, the general state of literacy in America is in crisis, with educators and public officials worried about falling educational standards, the rising influence of popular culture, and growing numbers of non-English-speaking immigrants. But how justified are these worries? By focusing on «reading», this book takes a serious look at public literacy, but chooses not to blame the familiar scapegoats. Instead, The End of Reading proposes that in a diverse and rapidly changing society, we need to embrace multiple definitions of what it means to be a literate person.

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CONTENTS

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Introduction: The End of Reading 1 Chapter One: The Disappearing Word 9 Growing up in a Wordless World 9 Reading Against the Grain 17 From Gutenberg to Grand Theft Auto 26 Chapter Two: The Crisis in Public Literacy 39 The Demographic Blame Game 39 The Invisible Failure of Education 50 Still Separate, Still Unequal 57 Chapter Three: The Rise of Media Culture 67 Visual Storytelling 67 The Entertainment-Industrial Complex 72 Virtual Worlds 78 Chapter Four: When Machines Do the Reading 95 Multiple Literacies in a Digital Society 95 The Technological Fix 107 Business, Efficiency, and the Flat World 115 Chapter Five: The Future of Reading 127 A Unified Field of Vision 127 New Literacies and Literatures 137 Readers or Writers? 153 Index 157 INTRODUCTION THE END OF READING BIG CHANGES have been taking place in reading in recent years. While American society has become more visual and digital, the gen- eral state of literacy in America is in crisis, with educators and public officials worried about falling educational standards, the rising influ- ence of popular culture, and growing numbers of non-English- speaking immigrants. But how justified are these worries? The End of Reading: From Gutenberg to Grand Theft Auto is titled provocatively to address current debates about the state of literacy in the United States and around the globe. By focusing on “reading” this book takes a se- rious look at public literacy, but chooses not to blame the familiar scapegoats. Instead, The End of Reading proposes that in a...

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