Recently I had a discussion with a 20 something year old. He was saying that people of his generation didn't read books anymore. They opted for video games, web games, movies and music, social media sites and plain web surfing.. From my experience with my two teens, who are both avid readers, I would say that he is completely off the mark. What is your take on the matter?
I think we, as hubbers, are not an accurate sampling of the average population. I mean, most people don't write as a hobby, and fewer still try to earn any money off of their writing.
I can speak to what I see as someone who works in higher education. I read probably 2 - 3 dozen freshman essays a week and have one-on-one conversations with a few dozen other college students from all years, majors, and schools from all over the country.
In my three years working in higher education, I've seen so many college students with third and fourth grade grammar skills and reading comprehension so low that I'm bewildered daily. I know that these boys you met are frighteningly close to accurate. They don't read and they are not being taught the value of reading in schools. Those of you who say your children read are most likely avid readers your self. You set the example. If a child does not have that example at home, the chances are slimmer and slimmer that they will find a role model to emulate who reads.
There is more to this issue than what I've covered. The novel is man's artistic response to a piece of mechanistic evolution from centuries ago. There has been so much mechanistic evolution in the last thirty years that the artists of this age are just struggling to keep up with and master their medium. The role of the artist has always changed with the evolution of machines into the roles they classically filled in society (take for instance the rise of impressionism among painters once the camera was available for portraits).
I personally do not fear for the survival of the novel. It has reinvented itself before, and it shall reinvent itself again. This is an important conversation to have and to weigh within yourself as part of that process. Thanks for bringing this up, klanguedoc! Don't let it die!
Many people don't understand the impact of not reading has or will have on society. I recently read an article that 42 percent of Canadians are semi-illiterate. When I saw that number I was so shocked, I couldn't believe it. Then I started thinking of the ripple effect on those peoples lives and on society as a whole; it is am alarming situation.
As you said, reading and the love of reading, as many other things in life, is taught in the home. Children learn by seeing.
Well, I have three kids, all in their 20's, and two of them love to read, so I agree with you!
I know and when I go to a book store, there are always lineups at the cash and there are usually two or three cash registers open.
TamCor, same (or similar, I should say) with me: Three kids. Two in their twenties. One in his thirties. All readers and users of libaries, as well as frequent visitors to book stores.
cdub77, right. My husband and I were always reading when the kids were little. It was just what went on all the time at home. Sometimes the five or us would each be reading our own stuff, but we'd be in the same room. We made sure they saw books as "the same" as any other enjoyable activity - not "some different kind of activity that kids usually don't like".
Based on my kids' friends, nieces and nephews, etc., though, I don't think who reads and who doesn't has anything to do with age. I think it has to do with overall attention to reading that parents pay. My kids' friends are very much like they are when it comes to reading. (Not all the friends - but enough of them to make me think a lot of young people are still reading before, and after, graduation.)
I used to read a lot, and still have many hundreds of books. However, I seem to have lost interest in reading them. I still buy books, with the intention of reading them, but never get around to it. However, I read a lot online now, and it has become much more natural for me to turn on my laptop if I want to read anything than to open the pages of a book.
My son who isn't a book lover, reads online all the time, too. After years of trying to interest him in reading, I'm grateful that he does, lol.
But like klanguedoc, I still see many people of all ages, lining up to buy books--and I'm right there with them! I couldn't get through a day without reading for at least an hour or two, which I do every night before I go to sleep.
My son is in his early twenties, and like my husband and I, is usually reading 2 or 3 books at once. We often find what we are all reading is intertwined somehow. But we instilled a love of books in him by having "story time" before bed when he was just a toddler. I don't know if parents are trying hard enough. Reading is your lifeline. If you are not a good reader, you can't even understand basic directions, like a recipe, or how to assemble something. And you can't get a thorough understanding of any subject if you are not a good reader. He has become a teacher, which didn't surprise us. Some of the video and web games are OK, he used to like all the Zelda games. which require reading to get thorugh the phases and such. And some video games do require logical thinking skills, good for those with math abilities. Bookstores by me are buzy, but I do think less people are reading.
But you still read and that is the main thing. Anyway ebooks and other forms of online reading content will continue to outpace traditional form of books. As I mentioned in my initial forum post, my son reads tons of books, but he also reads books online or on specialized web sites. He even reads japanese comic books with english sub titles
Japanese is becoming popular, a friend's son has a job with computer animation and learned to speak the language with Rosetta Stone, leaving soon. Online reading was an acquired taste for me, at first it was harder, and I used to print everything out. So reading online is still good, as long as young people read from somewhere.
I read a lot of books through Kindle's ebook reader. I have downloaded over 100 free classic books by Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Howard Pyle, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Dante, Homer, Victor Hugo, F. Scot Fitzgerald, Edgar Allen Poe to name a few. It is great. I have discovered so many great works of fiction.
Always have been passionate about reading, always will be no matter what the format.
I am as passionate as before, been reading a lot more since I got my Kindle. I also have 3 book-cases filled with books.
No- I don't think they are passionate about much at all. I don't think most 20 year olds have had as much hands on experience in anything of permanent value. I am not sure that the socialization of twenty year olds is what it was even 10 years ago, due to the increasingly isolating world of technology fed to them. I think most have an "internet persona" that may or may not be different from their real personality. I think they have watched more tv , listened to their i pods, texted, and gamed their way into adulthood and I worry about the void this will leave in their generation and what will fill it as they begin to lead the world. We all need to thank parents like you who set a good example and made reading a priority. I don't think readers modeling their parents habits will be as likely to switch from the "real thing" to a gadget.
I look at it this way, there are still enough books sold to have best sellers, bookstores have evolved instead of disappearing, and we still have celebrity authors. Somebody is reading those books and readers.
I think reading is as popular but the face of reading has changed with ebooks, Kindle etc. I miss the old day!
This is pretty much the sum of what my response was going to be. The newer generation has been practically raised by technology so it is more natural for them to read via e-Book but there are just as many who prefer the 'nostalgia' of a good old-fashioned book in their hands. As an example, my teenage stepson brought home a huge box of books that the high school library was doing away with. He has more books in his closet than he does clothes! Reading is still alive, just not necessarily in the fashion that we knew it in.
@klanguedoc, thank you for starting this forum. i myself is very passionate in reading. like i always need to have a book anywhere my site or anywhere i go.
here in our country i believe we are starting to become as passionate. i judge that based on the bookstores that has opened nationwide starting a few years back. however, it is only concentrated in the metro / city. only those who can afford books can avail of it. (even i myself have to save up just to get the book i want)
one time, it was the height of the 2008 financial crisis and i was reading Alan Greenspan's "Age of Turbulence" and other related books, one school teacher from a public school started to discuss topics about the financial crisis. it came to the point that i was already referring to the topics from the book. and then i asked him if he wants to read books like this. he responded, "if it is available, he would really be reading stuff like that". that means, he hasn't read any. and you know what my response was? "i could lend you some books, but not the one i am reading"...
i felt guilty not lending him my book. now i am going to correct it. come november will be national book month here in our country. as my gesture, i will donate all my books to the public school because i want the kids to love reading at their tender age (elementary and high school). i will turnover my books this monday. it's kinda sentimental for me because i will be parting with my most cherished treasure. but i wish to share my experience with this kids. that they need to love reading so much that it matters...(,")
That is a great gesture. I have been doing exactly for a couple of years now, instead of having book on a shelf or a box collecting dust, I donate them to our public library in the town where I live. They are always so grateful to receive new books as always, budgets are tight.
I only keep the ones, like classic or the ones I intend to go back and read again. A case in point, I have read all the Harry Potter books twice and my daughter has re read the series three times. The great thing is we often have discussions at the dinner table about certain passages in the books or certain events. She has even started using some English expressions in her vocabulary which my wife and I find really impressive. We have seen a noticeable difference in her vocabulary over the past 12 months.
My son and my wife have both read "Water for Elephants" and they too discuss the book, the characters, etc at length. It is a truly rewarding experience and a great to have a positive dialogue with our teens.
I'm not sure we could really safely say that people read less than they do in the past, since in the past there was a much higher percentage of truly illiterate people in most countries. In some regards, people who can read but don't is even more depressing than people who can't read at all, but a lot of them probably wouldn't have been able to read at all a hundred years ago, so I'm not sure the actual percentage of non-readers has changed that much.
That said, it's definitely horribly depressing to me as an avid reader to see so many children who think they don't like reading. My 14 year old nephew is one of only two or three kids in his entire grade (smallish Catholic school, but still!) who routinely read for fun. Because of this, his knowledge of the Catholic religion and American history, just to name two of his best subjects, is far more advanced than most of his classmates despite the fact that he is neither Catholic nor a US citizen. His vocabulary has also tested well above grade level, despite the fact that English is not his native language and he's only been speaking it since he was 10. He is a smart kid, but I think his love of reading has just as much to do with his success.
It only takes one book to grab a child's attention and hook them on reading. I remember reading my first Hardy Boys mystery book when I was a kid and becoming totally on the series and reading as a whole which has become a life long passion for me and also my kids. My daughter wasn't an avid reader until she started reading Harry Potter. She would read lots of books but wasn't necessarily passionate about. Now she will actually choose to read a book instead of playing a computer game or spending too much time on Facebook.
My son is much the same, he latch on to books much earlier but become really passionate when he started reading rick riordan's series, and kenneth opel or suzanne martel. Now he picks a series and reads every book in order until the series is finished or until the next book in the series comes out.
Enjoy this discussion very much. I agree with the 20 year old - sadly. I foresee a greater reliance upon videos. The human face is remarkable, the printed material is great but think about a video detailing your hub - that is dynamite and it plays well in the palm of your hand and it brings back that human touch.
Loosing print is sad yet IF it is replaced with human face - wow, that is dynamite!
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