Where has the love of reading gone?

19. Feb 2020 | Sarah Louise Vangsgaard Winge

Several studies suggest that there are fewer bookworms around – especially among children and adolescents. Have we neglected to adapt our efforts toward young people, and what do we need to do to rekindle their love of reading and make literature as interesting as Netflix?

Mission_Læselyst
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Traditionally, reading has been a gateway to knowledge, imagination and free space. However, the love of reading is waning in the younger generation. But why? And what does it take to get it back? That’s what Nadia from Clio has set out to find answers to.

Follow Nadia on her mission, and see what advice she ends up with.

Initiating the mission: a moment in Maria’s shoes

Maria has just gotten out of school and is on her way home. She’s tired. It has been a long day with a lot of reading, assignments and group discussions.

When she gets home, she throws her backpack on the couch and thinks to herself: “Maybe I should get started on my homework.” But all she feels she really needs right now is to relax and watch something on Netflix with her phone in her hand. So that’s what she decides to do.

The first meeting

Suddenly she hears an unfamiliar voice: “Hi Maria, sorry to disturb you. My name is Nadia, and I’m from Clio. I’m curious why you don’t get started on your homework?”

Maria sighs … and then replies in an almost disheartened way: “It’s soooo boring! There’s too much text and too many hard words, and I don’t have the energy.”

It makes Nadia sad that Maria doesn’t want to do her homework. But maybe it’s because it’s for school. Maybe the problem is not the reading in itself, but the fact that it’s related to duties and homework. Nadia asks Maria: “If it wasn’t homework, what would you like to read?”

If I were to read

After a moment of silence, Maria answers: “I don’t know, really. It’s not like I don’t read. I read a lot on my phone. But if it’s a long text, then it should include pictures or videos for sure. That’s why I read online. It’s more interesting and engaging. If I were to read a whole book, it would have to be really funny or about crime or something. But it’s difficult to find the time. I don’t go to the library, and I also need to find time for playing soccer.”

“What if you could listen to a book instead? Like an audiobook?” Nadia quickly adds, feeling she’s close to a breakthrough in her mission.

love of reading

Can the mission succeed?

“Well, I guess that would be different,” Maria replies and continues: “That could be kind of cool, actually. ‘Cause then I could listen to it while I work out or when I’m just chilling with my phone. I would love to read more books, and the Game of Thrones series has been on my reading list forever.”

This makes Nadia very happy. Maybe young people’s love of reading really isn’t gone. It feels like there may still be a few bookworms around. The media just needs to adapt to their needs and wants.

What is the real mission?

Nadia has learned a lot from Maria today, and something tells her there’s still a lot of desire for reading literature out there.

But maybe reading shouldn’t be the goal in itself. Essentially, we just want to safeguard and cherish our literature, right? And even though Maria is part of a group that prefers other types of media than books, there are still youths out there who prefer to sit with a book and immerse themselves. In the end, this mission may be about creating a framework that breathes life into young people’s desire to read.

Mission_Læselyst

At least to Nadia, it seems like the essential part of teaching literature appreciation to young people is the way it is presented. Talking with Maria showed her that if literature is presented in a flexible and varied form, not only with regard to the media, but also with regard to different modalities, then chances are the kids will actively choose to read and immerse themselves.

Nadia’s best tips:

  • Let the students read different types of media, e.g. e-books and SMS fiction or other texts with visual elements.
  • Read out loud, and listen to audiobooks. You are never too old to listen to a good story!
  • Go to the library, and let the students explore textbooks, comics, funny books and horror stories.
  • Invite a writer into your classroom to talk about their authorship.
  • Let your students inspire each other by sharing their best reading experiences, either in class or online.
  • Make reading spaces where the students can enjoy hanging out and immerse themselves in other worlds.

Happy reading!

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