Getting teenagers to read in the digital age

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Contributed by Jay Ong in collaboration with Bookworld.

Teenagers are bombarded by a seemingly endless stream of information and media that is meant to be consumed in the quickest way possible. From tweets to Snapchat messages which only last a short amount of time, kids are being conditioned to rapidly process information where anything longer than 140 characters is deemed TL:DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read).

Teenagers buck the reading trend

In America, research by the Pew Research Center revealed that nearly 25% of American adults had not read a single book in 2013, a startling number which has almost tripled since 1978.

“The percentage of younger people who read for pleasure has stopped declining”

Many will point to television, the Internet and mobile technology as being the culprits of the decline in the culture of picking up a book, but a startling factoid was unearthed in the study: the percentage of younger people who read for pleasure has stopped declining. Bucking the trend and the prevailing perception that the digital devices are detrimental to reading, this is a promising indicator that not all is lost when it comes to teenage reading habits.

Recently, there seems to be a renaissance and growing partnership between Hollywood and the book industry. Buoyed by the exposure and box office success of Young Adult fiction such as the Hunger Games, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Warm Bodies, Percy Jackson and The Book Thief, teenagers are being driven towards picking up these titles as a supplement and extension to watching the movie in the cinema.

“There seems to be a renaissance and growing partnership between Hollywood and the book industry”

Defying conventional logic that movies and television are hindering teenagers from reading, young adult authors such as John Green, Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth are enjoying continued success on the best sellers lists, supported by their active presence on social media and the ease of which they can connect with their desired audience.

Tips for parents of a reluctant reader

Parents still have an integral role to play in encouraging teenagers to read and develop a lifelong love for literature. Here are some ideas to get your reluctant reader interested in books:

  1. Take your teen to watch the latest book adaption in the cinemas, and follow up with buying the related books for them if they demonstrate a keen interest in the characters and fictional universes introduced by the films.
  2. If they’re inseparable from their smartphones or tablets, introduce your teenager to e-books.
  3. Encourage them to nominate their school or community group for a ‘Pop-Up Shelf’ (see below).

Bookworld spreads the joy of reading

Australian online book retailer Bookworld is calling on Australians to nominate your schools, towns, sporting clubs and communities to be the location of their next Pop-Up Shelf. Following on a successful campaign in Sydney and Melbourne where they constructed pop-up shelves filled with free books, they’re looking for the next local area that deserves some free ‘book cheer’.

“Nominate your schools, towns, sporting clubs and communities to be the location of their next Pop-Up Shelf”

Who doesn’t love free books? To nominate your teenager’s school, community group or even your suburb, head on over the Bookworld Pop-Ups page and submit your nomination before 11.59pm AEST 25 February 2014. The top 3 nominations will be shortlisted on 27 February and the entry with the most votes at the close of the competition will take home the prize. In addition to working together with Bookworld to launch the Pop-Up Bookshelf, the winner will also take home a $1,000 Bookworld voucher!

This post is supported by Bookworld

 

 

 

Comments

  1. You are right, you need to follow the trend and offer the next best option to your children. For example, present them with kindle so that they can read anywhere they like and they don’t need to carry heavy books. Free book ideas are actually great. I have seen a few establishments like hotels adopt this idea. You can take any book you like, read or take home if you have not finished. If you have books you finished reading donate them. Good luck with the worthy campaign.
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