Digital Reading: Challenges and Opportunities

By Michael Larkin and Donnett Flash - College Writing Program

You thought you knew how to teach reading…until you read THIS.

See what we did there?  We dangled a click-bait headline designed to get your attention, and then below we offer you an easily digestible list that may or may not deliver on the promise of that headline. This is what teachers of critical reading are up against in trying to help their students to read more deeply and carefully in any medium:  an influential online environment predicated on extreme brevity, attention grabbing, and distraction. This is a challenge to overcome even for students who want to read well.

Interested in digital reading? Do you teach undergraduates? Then we invite you to take a look at the introduction to these pages, at our bibliographies of sources on digital reading and on teaching critical reading, and, again, at our list of suggestions for navigating the challenges of—and leveraging the potential benefits of—digital reading with your students.  We also welcome your comments and suggestions below or email to or to Michael Larkin at or Donnett Flash at

What we "know" about reading digitally

Building bridges to critical reading in a digital context

Recommended sources on digital reading

Suggested Readings on Teaching Critical Reading

*Find more information on Teaching Critical Reading within the Reading and Composition resources.