professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Are they reading?

The short answer to the question posed in the title of this post is YES. I know lots of kids who are reading. It seems, though, as if journalists are having a tough time locating them. This piece appeared several months ago: The title, of course, is a clue to the bias the author seems to have going into this discussion. Nothing wrong with bias; I certainly have some strong biases. However, when I encounter these types of banal generalities, I am tempted to stop reading and move along to something else. Here is the point at which I was taken fully aback.

"Yet what happens as they move toward adolescence? When they become twelve or thirteen, kids often stop reading seriously. The boys veer off into sports or computer games, the girls into friendship in all its wrenching mysteries and satisfactions of favor and exclusion. Much of their social life, for boys as well as girls, is now conducted on smartphones, where teen-agers don’t have to confront one another." Sexist much? Glittering generalities much?

I also love the take that SOME graphic novels, some YA is good (and the inference is, of course, that the rest of it does not measure up). But, wait, there's more:"In sum, reading has lost its privileged status; few kids are ashamed that they’re not doing it much. The notion that you should always have a book going—that notion, which all real readers share, doesn’t flourish in many kids. Often, they look at you blankly when you ask them what they are reading on their own."

Again, I wonder about this sort of sweeping statement. There is a passing mention of screen time cutting into reading time and a mention of the classics. There is also, though, a nice statement about the importance of good teachers. All in all, however, I wish I could connect this journalist (a film critic, BTW) with kids from classrooms headed up by Colby Sharp or Katherine Sokolowski or Paul Hankins or Cindy Minnnich or any 1 of a huge number of teachers who have readers as passionate as they are. I wish they could have been at nErDCampMI to see kids lined up ready to dash off to meet their favorite authors, or to come to NTTBF or Tween Reads or any number of conferences where kids come to listen to authors talk about books.

And this sentence is still one I am pondering: "Lifetime readers know that reading literature can be transformative, but they can’t prove it."

What say you?
Tags: reading
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