Sunday, November 28, 2010

Teens' love-hate relationships with reading

As Educators, we often pat ourselves on the back for getting kids to read; looking at circulation stats, reading program results, reading logs, etc. We parade around the big readers...but they would read even if we poured poison on the books. It's the reluctant, less enthusiastic readers we need to build the environment for. 

What's the solution? TIME! And interesting, multi-leveled, multimedia reading material and reading discussion (online and for fun) surrounding the kids at home and school! 

The following comments are from a Delaware 2008 students’ reading interests and behaviors survey. This article was pointed out to me by Melissa Techman via the LM-Net listserv. Thanks - Jennie

Teens who like to read feel transported by reading:
“…it puts me in another world.”
“…you can visit other places without even leaving your house.”
“…books tend to take you to a place where you can be yourself.”
“…it’s fun to read about things that aren’t real and wish they could happen.”
“…I like to visualize what’s happening in the book as if it was a television show.”
“…you can do it at your own pace and can imagine your own thing. It’s like television but you decide what you want everyone to look like.”

My BookshelfImage by stevegarfield via Flickr

Teens who say they do not like to read feel this way because:
“…the majority of the time when I am reading it is not by choice...”
“…my teacher makes us read in class…”
“…I don’t like to read in school because the books don’t really interest me and we have to answer questions after we read.”
“The books they FORCE us to read in school are boring and bland…sometimes it just makes me want to quit reading all together. They need something more exciting and new not old and crusty.”
“I can’t find books I like.”
“…I can never find a book that gets my attention.”
“…I can never get into a book when I read it.”
“I haven’t got time.”
“…I am usually helping out my mom and I don’t have time to read.”
“…I have to work.”
“It takes away a lot of free time that I could use to better myself at sports.”

It’s difficult mentally:
“…I don’t really have the focus.”
“…I have a hard time reading.”
“…I just forget the things I read.”
“…I get distracted by other things and bored often.”
“…I lose interest in things fast so if the book is slow I put it down.”
“…would rather watch something than read it.”
“…if there is a movie… you can watch that and finish the story in a couple of hours…”
“…I am not that good at reading…”

It’s difficult physically:
“…it makes me tired.”
“…my eyes hurt and it makes me sleepy.”
“…I get headaches.”
“I don’t like to sit still and stay quiet for too long.”
“…I’m the kind of a person who likes to be outside all the time.”
“…if I ever have spare time I usually go to the gym and play basketball… or exercise.”

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