Hello Lovely Readers,
As some of you who have been following this blog for a while will know, I am a huge advocate for people to read, especially younger people. So it was very distressing this week to read several articles that talked about how rates of young people reading for pleasure are dropping. Frances and I have talked about how important books were to us when we were younger. Most of my closest friends from primary and high school favorite books and authors, and we would pass on our favorite books to each other. For me, I cannot imagine not reading for fun. In university when I had less time, I started to feel rather unhappy, and realized it was because I had mostly stopped reading for fun. By reading just a couple pages of something I choose helped me sleep better and made me feel better. So all this combined with the news is distressing to me.
The first article is from Yahoo, and you can read it here. The main point of the article is that while children are still reading for pleasure, the number is lower than it was 10 years ago, and worse, it seems proficiency levels are dropping. While this may not take into account different ways children are reading (such as online, although it appears e-readers were included), it is very worrying.
Worse it seems from the Yahoo article and one from NPR (which you can read/listen to here) teens are some of the worst effected. According to the article, “Nearly half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year — if that.” This again is a drop from where it was in the past 10 years. While further research is needed, some are speculating it is the rise in other technologies that are taking away from reading time, even if those same technologies can be used to encourage reading.
Thankfully it wasn’t all doom and gloom this week, instead there was a great piece from CNN on how LeVar Burton (from Star Trek) has devoted his life to encouraging children to read, which you can check out here. I know he was a big fixture in my childhood with Reading Rainbow, which I was sad to realize stopped airing in 2009. Luckily, he is still working in the area, and has even developed the “Reading Rainbow App” which has been helping to encourage the use of the new forms of technologies to make reading more interactive.
For those like me who used to watch Reading Rainbow, I thought you would appreciate the theme song. It brought back so many memories for me, and I still knew all the lyrics!!
What do you guys think? Is it time to start worrying about how much children and teens are reading? How do you try to encourage the younger generations, and even the older ones to read? Are there and groups/charities/outreach programs that you recommend? I think this is a very important issue and I know I will be looking into ways to help out!
Until next time,