It seems there is a generation of teenage book readers who would, well, rather not. Read, that is.
At least in a traditional sense – we’re not counting Facebook and Snapchat here.
A new US study published this week by the American Psychological Association which surveyed more than 1 million students from 1976 to 2016 found by the time students hit high school the lure of technology is far greater than that of books.
Texting, YouTubing, social media and gaming take up the bulk of their spare time. Not reading books … or even magazines.
While the findings won’t surprise anybody with a teenager, it’s a worrying trend.
Long-form reading (novels, magazine articles, essays etc) helps memory retention, critical thinking, increases vocabulary and attention span.
It helps to set people up for adulthood - think writing essays at university - and good literary skills lead to better careers and life skills, such as coping with bureaucracy.
All is not lost though.
This week – Book Week – there’s activities going on around central Victoria which put books in the spotlight.
California Gully and Kalianna students dressed up as their favourite book characters and kid’s rock band The Blurbs will be at Bendigo Library on Friday performing theatre and songs based on this year’s Children’s Book Council shortlisted titles.
The Castlemaine library has started The Whatever Book Club, a “a no-pressure book club for teens to chat about your favourite books ... or even just let off steam about how your favourite author let you down”.
And the Tough Guy Book Club’s Bendigo chapter meet monthly where guys from all walks of life “get together and discuss …. the work of literary greats”.
If you’ve got a teenager who you’d like to see read more, manga and graphic novels are being cited as access points, as is sending them to libraries for in-depth answers to questions about life, the universe, everything.
But experts say a key part of the remedy lies at home. If you don’t read, why should your children?
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