Why Do Children Read Less
It is not uncommon to hear from the parents and the teachers that children are reading less than the previous generations. This opinion is not merely an outcome of anecdotal evidence, but is an established fact supported by research studies. It is important to realize the decline of the reading habit among the children is not due to a single factor but the result of multiple factors.
A research study in the U.S. found the number of children reading for fun declined by ten percent between 2010 and 2014. The children who participated in the study gave a number of reasons why they don’t enjoy reading such as books getting bigger and bigger and reading exhaustion as a result of too many reading assignments in the school. It seems bigger books intimidate children because they require significant time commitment. Similarly, the frequent reading assignments in the school may be alienating children by representing reading as a boring activity.
The children are reading less because they have a number of alternatives that they find more fun and entertaining than the reading. These activities include watching TV, listening to the music, watching videos on the internet, social media, and video games. The technological progress over the last few decades have given us multi-functional portable gadgets such as smart phones and tablet devices that offer almost unlimited entertainment options. They are capable of playing music, videos, internet browsing, video games, and real-time communication. As a result, reading does not have the same allure it once had, especially when it is done for fun. In simple words, the reading activity has too much competition now, and the alternatives hold more appeal to the children.
Children are also reading less because the times have changed including the reading culture. The reading activity has also declined among the adults and it has contributed to a decline in reading among the children as well. A research study found the children of parents who read aloud 5-7 days a week are more likely to develop an interest in reading later in life. Thus, the adults can promote love for reading among children through personal examples such as reading more as well as participating in the reading activities with their children.
The decline in reading activity among the children might also be due to declining rate of reading proficiency among the children. A report by the San Francisco-based Common Sense Media claimed many children are struggling with reading proficiency, with only one-third of fourth grade students who could be considered proficient while another one-third possess only basic reading skills. It is reasonable to assume lack of reading proficiency may also be discouraging many children from reading more frequently. This lack of reading proficiency among the young children may be due to a number of factors such as lack of practice and inadequate instruction and guidance from the elders including the parents and the educators.
Many elders including the parents and the teachers complain children today read less than those in the previous generations. The declining of reading activity among the children is due to several factors such as books getting bigger and frequent reading assignments in school that only end up alienating the children from the reading activity. The reading activity also competes with other alternatives for the attention of the children, and it seems to be losing the battle because the alternatives are more fun and entertaining to the children. The reading activity has also been declining among the adults which is also setting poor example for the children.