Real literacy?

Killing the written word by snippets - Los Angeles Times
Students are trading in books for search-and-seizure learning on the Internet, and real literacy is getting lost along the way.
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One memorable freshman sagely informed me that people shouldn't be reading entire volumes these days anyway.
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Many of this generation are aliterate — they know how to read but don't choose to. And abridgment of texts is now taken to extremes, with episodes from micro-novels being sent as text messages on cell phones.
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Much as automobiles discourage walking, with undeniable consequences for our health and girth, textual snippets-on-demand threaten our need for the larger works from which they are extracted.

This seems to neglect a whole host is issues around literacy (as much by assumption as by assertion). Literacy is a complex issue, it is a relatively recent addition to our culture, and it largely replaced 'oracy' as the main mode of transmitting information of all kinds (including socialization). There are also styles of reading and information collection that need to be taken into account.

To be fair, the author mitigates some of these points

Admittedly, back in the days when research necessitated opening dozens of books in hopes of finding useful information, no one read each tome cover to cover. It is also fair to say that given how scattershot our searches sometimes were, we often missed what we were looking for.

and admittedly I was wondering the same thing myself about a week ago on this blog:

But that said, we also happened upon issues that proved more interesting than our original queries. Today's snippet literacy efficiently keeps us on the straight and narrow path, with little opportunity for fortuitous side trips.

This, however, while a valid question worthy of more investigation, again relies to heavily on one particular model of literacy.

Will effortless random access erode our collective respect for writing as a logical, linear process? Such respect matters because it undergirds modern education, which is premised on thought, evidence and analysis rather than memorization and dogma. Reading successive pages and chapters teaches us how to follow a sustained line of reasoning.

If we approach the written word primarily through search-and-seizure rather than sustained encounter-and-contemplation, we risk losing a critical element of what it means to be an educated, literate society.