It is often said that while today’s college students lack the reading habits of past generations, they make up for this relative unfamiliarity with the written word with a greater visual and auditory literacy that allows them to navigate the modern world of images and the spoken word.
Thomas F. Bertonneau, a professor of literature and film studies, argues here that this is not so. The less reading a student does, the less likely he is to understand even movies. He writes:
I have taught film and popular-culture courses at the college level in Michigan and New York during a twenty-year period and, during the same period, have taught literature—classics in translation, American literature (nineteenth and twentieth century), poetry, literary theory, genre fiction, and much else. Given that experience, I find no validity in the strained romantic hope that the inadequately lettered and spottily informed student will prove somehow to be cognitively sharp in domains “beyond” the book…
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