Thursday, November 4, 2010

Teens Are Reading, But Just In a Different Way

The kids are all right.

At least, that's what I took away from a recent Washington Post story about young people's reading habits.

The article looks at recreational reading in the age of Wii and XBox and real-time Tweeting. And what it says was a bit of a comfort to the part of me that wants to write books for this audience: They are reading.

And it confirms what many of us are beginning to wrap our brains around: They're reading books in digital forms.

"It's not that they're reading less; they're reading in a different way," Kim Patton, president of the Young Adult Library Services Association, says in the Post article.

The story refers to a detailed analysis into the trend on reading for fun - in books, newspapers and magazines. Researcher Sandra Hofferth of the University of Maryland has looked at the daily time-use diaries of a nationally representative sample of children 12 to 18.

The Post reports the following: Pleasure reading dropped 23 percent from 2003 to 2008, from 65 minutes a week to 50 minutes a week - with the greatest falloff for those ages 12 to 14.

So where's the bright side? The Post gives Patton's answer:

"They could be reading on the cellphone, in games, on the Web, on the computer. It doesn't mean they're not reading, but they're not reading using the printed page."

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