Not for me..actually who am I kidding...I have a million and one distractions. But this thought came about after Sunday, when I went to the Reading Matters Conference Public Day with some work pals.
We went to two sessions at the State Library.

Speculative Fiction with the panel of Jay Kristoff, Rachael Craw and Mariko Tamaki.
Contemporary YA with the panel of AS King, Jennifer Niven and Lili Wilkinson.

During the first panel, our lovely Miss H asked Jay a great question. He had been talking about going to a local newsagent when he was a boy, reading all the Stephen King novels, and hiding them so he could continue reading the next week.

Miss H asked 'how do we get children such as yourself back into libraries'

Jay's answer was ' I don't know. I grew up with a television with four channels. I didn't have all the distractions that kids have today.'

And he's right. As a kid there was television, radio and that was about it. Perhaps one console game (early editions)...but we didn't have all the digital and social media at our fingertips.

 If it was too hot to play outside and there was nothing good on the tv, we read.

If it was pouring rain and we were bored...we either played or read.

Kids today have access to so much. If the television is boring, they can download and stream new shows. They can play on the console games, or use their computer or Ipad. Can chat on their phones.

No child is that far removed from some sort of digital attachment.

Statistics are showing us that although there is a slight increase on children 6-13 years reading (and 81% girls compared to 67.5% boys), children 14 and over are reading less.

Once children get into high school, the majority no longer read for pleasure but read for the curriculum. They are forced to read, and it is no longer an enjoyable experience.

They are calling children like this aliterate---they have the skill to read but not the will. They choose not to read.

Once again there are various tips offered to get teens reading. Everything from letting them choose what they want to read, no censorship...to being a great role model and show that you read.

Have discussions about books. Let them know that it is okay not to finish a book if they hate it or are bored with it...that it is okay to love or hate a character...that you don't want a book to end.

Interestingly a lot of parents have the notion that once they have taught their children to read, that it is then up to the teachers to continue on the journey.

If we want to see more of this....

we as parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, people that care, have to do our bit too.

Read aloud to children, no matter how old they are! (and please use voices when appropriate)

Share books, take turns reading them. Some parents take alternate sentences or pages, even chapters.

Find a subject they are interested in, a topic, a genre.

READING DOESN'T HAVE TO BE ALL ABOUT NOVELS. Non-fiction, manga, graphic novels, magazines....they all require reading and your child may be more scientific or realism based.

Show them that reading is not for losers or deadbeats. Use social media and show that their favourite star/ singer/ blogger reads.

Reading for enjoyment is meant to be fun...let's get out there and make it so.



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