On Giving Youth A Chance

July 29th, 2008 · 5 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

Why is it that teenagers, being hit with puberty, peer groups, youth culture, adolescent growth, the weird world of education, and the oncoming threat of higher education, are expected to become avid readers?

Is it a case of “Oh, good, you’ve got five seconds to yourself, read this”? How is that better than throwing a tabloid newspaper at them, and calling it “reading”? Is any old extraneous thing, however irrelevant, OK, if it’s called “literature”?

People being driven into a state of terminal time management crisis are hardly likely to become enthusiastic readers. If they’re not interested, why not?

File Under: Quote of the Week

5 responses so far ↓

  • links for 2008-07-29 « Charlottesville Words // Jul 29, 2008 at 9:31 am

    […] On Giving Youth A Chance | Booksquare “People being driven into a state of terminal time management crisis are hardly likely to become enthusiastic readers.” I’m hardly a “youth,” but I can sure identify. […]

  • donna myrow // Jul 30, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Teens are genuinely excited about reading our teen-written newspaper. L.A. Youth was launched in 1988 and is the largest non-profit newspaper in the country (500,000 readers). Peer-to-peer personal stories enable them to see they’re not alone when facing problems and they have a terrific sense of humor.

  • Alice Friedman // Jul 30, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    My teen-age grands are avid readers. They are reading the Meyers books and flip between YA books and regular adult literature.
    They are completely teenagers. I call them the giggles but the first stop when they visit is the library.

  • Miki S // Jul 30, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Seems to me, if you’re waiting until they’re teenagers to try to tempt them to read, you’ve waited far too long!

    I would think you want to hook ’em while they’re very young. Then, while there might be a cutback in reading during their crazy wild teenage years, they’ll go back to it eventually.

    Well, that’s how it worked for me…well, okay, I never really ever stopped reading altogether. 😉

  • RfP // Jul 30, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Wallis makes some good points, but the section you highlighted is an important flaw in his argument. A number of studies have found that teenagers *are* avid readers–more so than adults. For recent generations, reading books peaks in the teen years and declines during early adulthood.

    That finding was made by the same NEA survey that Wallis quotes. It’s also backed up by other data, some of which I’ve compiled here.