If you're one of those people who are against the "online, trying- to- cut-corners, reading generation," you'll enjoy the article, Killing the written word by snippets by Naomi S. Baron, professor of linguistics at American University in Washington (via Kevin Drum, whose post on the topic generated 142 comments)
Here are few snippets from the article, "Today's snippet literacy efficiently keeps us on the straight and narrow path, with little opportunity for fortuitous side trips." She also closes her article stating, "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."
Granted, the "written word" is indeed powerful and Baron astutely points out that, "Reading successive pages and chapters teaches us how to follow a sustained line of reasoning." But knowing that today's learners have reading materials available to them in a variety of forms, can they still achieve literacy through their online reading environments?