In today's digital world, we are bombarded with information from all sides. A tweet here, a blog post there, or perhaps a quick audio snippet from a podcast. But when was the last time you truly committed to an author's work, something that demanded more than a mere few minutes of your attention? This is what I pondered upon recently in a conversation with a former student.
|Concept Art "Reading is Essential, Children,"|
made by one of my Tenth Graders.
The Definition of 'Book'
One of my former students said to me, when I told them what they had been reading. "Why does it have to be a book?" He meant that he did a lot of reading, he thought. Just not "books." When we talk about books, what often comes to mind is a traditional, bound, printed matter that you purchase or borrow. However, a book can be so much more. A book can be an ebook, an audiobook, a text message series, or even a PDF. It doesn't have to be a lengthy piece; it just needs to offer a sustained treatment of a subject or a narrative, with a beginning, middle, and end.
The Digital Era and Sustained Reading
The digital age has unquestionably expanded our avenues for consuming content. From TikTok videos and YouTube shorts to tweets and social media posts, we live in a fast-paced, internet-driven world. While these platforms offer unique and engaging content, they often don't require long-term engagement from the audience.
Research indicates that reading for pleasure has declined among young people. Studies by the National Center for Education Statistics support the notion that not only are kids reading less for enjoyment, but this trend extends to individuals under the age of 55 as well. However, it's not entirely fair to place the blame solely on technology and mass media.
One contributing factor could be the way reading is taught in schools, particularly over the last few decades. English and Reading teachers are frequently under pressure to adhere to standardized curricula that focus heavily on skill development, often at the expense of fostering a love for reading.