“The New Literacy”

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Kids these days. With their facebook, twitter, and texts. They’re always wasting time on the internet, bouncing from one thing to the next, hardly able to focus long enough to read, let alone to write, right?

Stanford professor Andrea Lunsford begs to differ: “I think we’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since Greek civilization.”

Lunsford, who started the Stanford Study of Writing in order to “scrutinize college students’ prose,” has concluded that today’s young people are writing more than any generation in history. “Before the Internet came along, most Americans never wrote anything, ever, that wasn’t a school assignment.”

But is all this writing a good thing? Read “Clive Thompson on the New Literacy” and find out.


Isaac Fitzgerald has been a firefighter, worked on a boat, and was once given a sword by a king, thereby accomplishing three out of five of his childhood goals. Formerly of The Rumpus and McSweeney’s and most recently the founding editor of BuzzFeed Books, Isaac is now the co-host of BuzzFeed News’ Twitter Morning Show, #AMtoDM. He also appears frequently on The Today Show to talk books, and is co-author of Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them and Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (with Recipes) (winner of an IACP award), and the author of a YA novel and picture book forthcoming from Bloomsbury. He uses Twitter. More from this author →