There is a very disheartening report out from Common Sense Media that claims that teens aren’t reading books for pleasure because they are too busy playing with their stupid iPhones and watching Netflix. According to the study, nearly half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year ”” if that. I’m so sad to hear this because when I was a teen and young adult, reading was one of my very favorite things to do and reading taught me so much about the world and humanity and myself. Even as an adult if I had my dream day it would include a pile of new books and no one around to bother me all day. Check out these quotes from the article so you can feel all sad and wrinkle your pretty little foreheads like I am:
“I don’t really read for pleasure,” says Sydnor. “Generally I talk on the phone. Or I watch Netflix shows, or Hulu shows, mostly TV. That’s it.”
“I don’t read for pleasure either, unless it’s for a school assignment,” says Anosike. “I’m usually on my phone or watching TV, too.”
The CEO of Common Sense Media, Jim Steyer, states there is a possibility teens are using their tablets and laptops to engage in reading rather than spending time with traditional books. I have no issue with that, and I do find myself using my Kindle for reading fiction books and saving my hardbound books purchases for things like cookbooks and art books, but considering the study says teens are no longer reading for pleasure leads me to believe they are just too busy playing flappy birds to care about what Holden Caulfield thought about things.
I don’t know how parents can make reading cool for their kids, other than displaying their own love of reading and making sure their kids have access to all sorts of books. My kids see me spend a lot of my free time reading and when they ask what I am doing I tell them that I am at a really good part in a book and I don’t want to be bothered. We are also pretty generous when it comes to book money in my house. Requesting a video game has to be earned or received on a birthday or holiday, but we will almost always say yes to getting a new book. I send my kids to bed at 8:30 and say they can read for half an hour before bedtime, and my own teen is always prowling our bookcases and asking for reading suggestions.
I can’t deal with people who don’t read for pleasure, and I don’t care what people read, even if it’s romance novels or encyclopedias or pornography, I just love reading. I know that if someone tells me they aren’t into books I have a difficult time relating to them and I want my own kids to grow up to be voracious readers like I am. There is just something so off-putting to me about a grownass human who makes a statement like I hate reading.
Speaking of new books, I recently finished this one which was SUPER disturbing and this one just arrived in my Kindle this morning. That’s right, I may be ending this article sharing what I am reading in hopes you will do the same, so tell me. I don’t know how I would have gotten through adolescence without Orwell and Hesse and Salinger and Plath. Growing up, Judy Blume and Carolyn Keene were my BFFs. I hate to think kids today (Damn those kids today) aren’t falling in love with books like I did growing up.