Since I teach 16 to 19 year olds I believe that it’s so important to encourage young people to read more, but what can we do? Here are a few of my thought about it:
- In this case recent technology has helped. It’s cool to read on an i reader or i pad! (or ‘sick’ one lad keeps saying at college and I have to think twice before I realise that he is being complementary) With the e book revolution and so many free or very cheap books to download, reading has suddenly become a more attractive option for teenagers and however much I support real books, bookshops and libraries, it’s reading that’s the most important factor here. My only fear is the quality of what’s being read. I cannot judge since I still do not have my Kindle up and running due to not having Wi Fi, but I’ve heard many complaints from others about poor English and stories riddled with mistakes. I’m sure there’s a lot of excellent literature out there at 99p or even free but how can we guide teenagers to be discerning? Is it really important so long as they are enjoying reading?
- The second factor increasing the popularity of reading for young people is the emergence of the Novella or short novels. These are stories of less than 50,000 words which you could read in one sitting, on a train journey for example; appealing in this world where everything has to be instant.
- Collections of short stories are more in vogue! That’s great for a reluctant reader too.
- With so many YA books now on the market this is the best time to encourage our youth to explore the amazing world of print, whether it be in ebook form or real books.
In my work with sixteen to nineteen year olds at college I come across young people who are so used to skimming the internet, only reading brief posts by family and friends on facebook and worse still in text form, so that they never sit down to read anything thoroughly, only gleaning the briefest idea of the meaning before moving on.
I think the ‘Six Book Challenge 2012’ is a fantastic idea, especially for young people who have never got into a regular habit of reading. I aim to work with our college library and have a competition for the first six students to meet the challenge by giving me their book reviews in any format, verbally if they like.
I’ll let you know how it goes!