Monday, July 1, 2013

Musing Monday..."The Young and Bookless"

Let's start the week
 by checking out the questions at Should Be Reading and pick something bookish.

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!

• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Ok, I admit that I stole that title, but as someone who watched the soaps with my grandmom, I though it was cute. Yes, once again, it is from an article in the Wall Street Journal.
"A landmark 2007 study by the National Endowment for the Arts noted a sharp decline in reading for pleasure among young people. The number of 17-year-olds who never read for pleasure increased to 19% in 2004 from 9% in 1984. According to the report, almost half of Americans between ages 18 and 24 never read books for fun.
When the NEA study appeared six years ago, I convinced myself that the young non-readers identified in the report were probably mediocre students with little aptitude for language arts. But meeting my own students—smart young people who were trying to write English without reading much of it—made me realize that the grim numbers about America's reading habits have real faces among some of the best and brightest members of the next generation."

Did you get that part..."According to the report, almost half of Americans between ages 18 and 24 never read books for fun."
Wow, that just makes me so sad.

Since I was a child, I have gotten great pleasure from reading, a pleasure I wish everyone shared. And I really thing they could if they just gave it a try and found some boos about a subject that they like, some subject they really enjoy. I think that might be key to getting people, especially kids, to take a look at books, getting to read a book about a subject they are really interested in. They can see all the information that is out there, all the great stories, fictional or non-fictional, and will be book fans for life! If only it were that easy.
I can remember thinking as a kid that with books you could travel anywhere, any place, in any period of time, past, present or future. And IHMO, with a book, unlike a movie or TV, you are so much more an active part of the experience because your mind is totally involved. Sure, I like TV and movies but push come to shove, give me a book.

And, as I believe it was Steven King who said in the article, there is another practical consideration to not reading. Kids, even good students, who do not read can not write and can not spell. If you have not seen it again and again in print, in context, through and threw are the same to you. Throw in texting and thing like grammar go out the window as well.

But there is so much competition for people's time, more all the time. TV and school, and sports and movies and computer games and iPods and iPads  and getting drunk and getting do you convince people, especially young people, that reading is fun and worth their time? And that at least when you read you won't wake up 5 years from now wondering why you have a giant bumblebee tattooed on your arm.

Most likely, if you are reading this, I am preaching to the choir, so to speak.
But when I see articles like that, with figures like that, I just have to scream!
In a quiet bloggish sort of way.


  1. I sort of hate seeing kids on their electronic devices all the time, playing games, instead of reading!

    1. At least they should be using their electronic devices to read!

  2. In their defense, a lot of kids are in school from 18 to 24 and have to read some much for school they prefer to spend their free time doing other things.

  3. Stephen King is a prolific writing and insightful man ...

    1. Odd, I have never read any of his books.

  4. I read and so do all of my children. I read to them when they were young and they could not wait until they could read on their own. They still read. Parents and teachers need to read to children!!! I am part of the choir.

  5. I wonder how kids are affected if their parents read or do not read! I have always been an avid reader and when my daughter (your Niece)was at an age at which she could enjoy reading books on her own - she did but 3 to 4 at a time. This would always drive me crazy because I knew she couldn't fully appreciate any of the books she was reading. I finally got her to stop that and now she truly enjoys reading!

    1. I used to think it did..parents who read had kids who read, but now I am not so sure. Maybe in some cases it is a parent who is the example, but maybe some pick the bug up elsewhere..a teacher...or maybe they discover it on their own.
      I just fear there will be fewer and fewer readers in the future...

  6. As a teacher, I am saddened by these statistics. I always take at least fifteen minutes a week to talk with my classes about books--what I'm reading or listening to, what they're reading. I've gotten a couple of students who are reluctant readers to "try" reading because of our informal book reports. I'm really proud of that. And I encourage them to download the reader apps on their gadgets, I tell them that I find I read more, faster, and remember what I've read better from my ereader than when I read paper books.

    Sorry, I guess I got going on this one...

    1. Oh, I can certainly understand is such an important issue and teachers are right in the middle of it!

  7. It's sad. They never learned reading is fun. Maybe no one gave them books they could have fun reading.

  8. Isn't that terrifying? It makes me want to go out and make someone start reading a book :-P

  9. Whenever I can, I try to convince people how awesome reading is. I've converted a few already and it makes me happy to spread the 'words'.

    Andrea K. @ Books and Bindings
    Musing Mondays

  10. oh, that is just so sad... i think they're missing half of their lives. people really should read books and have fun..

  11. for the filipinos (like me) reading is not the priority... it's sad but it's true. if you look at the books written by filipino authors, what you'll see are either literary fiction (which most people won't buy because it's not mainstream or too boring for most of us) or garbage, half-ass, poorly written but ultimately popular short stories from which for some bizarre reason landed a publishing deal.
    i also have friends in real life who are like, "eew you read? you must be a nerd." it doesn't anger me that people think this way but instead, it saddens me and i pity them because they're missing half of their lives...


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