The Surprising Benefits Of "Real" Books

Our ever-present electronic devices have changed so much about the way we live, including how we read books. 

Michael Bugeja, a distinguished professor at Iowa State University and author of "Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine," was surprised to learn that many of his students had not read a physical book since middle school. He decided to give his students an unusual extra credit assignment. He asked them to read a physical book and share their thoughts on the experience. 

"I have received thank you cards from students who took the class in the fall," says Bugeja. "Thanking me for reintroducing them to the love of books."

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, Host Charity Nebbe talks with Bugeja and one of his former students, Jessan Gray-Ashley. She also talks with Katy Kauffman, president of the Iowa Association of School Librarians. They talk about how students interact with books, what we have learned about how reading online affects comprehension and retention, and how electronic devices can make it difficult for students and others to focus.