Kids not burying themselves in the books
In a new report researched by Vicky Rideout, senior adviser to Common Sense media, head of VJR consulting with more than 30 studies under her belt she clarifies:
“This review brings together many different government, academic, and nonprofit data sets to reveal some very clear trends,” said Rideout. “There has been a huge drop in reading among teenagers over the past 30 years, and we’ve made virtually no progress reducing the achievement gaps between girls and boys or between whites and children of color. The bottom line is there are far too many young people in this country who don’t read well enough or often enough.”
A component of the findings concerned children multi-tasking while reading and either listening to music or television in the background as they read. Instant messaging can be included in this alignment. Children spent up to one hour daily reading but the statistics were down to 76% in 2013. Girls spending ten minutes more than boys reading daily for pleasure while a full one-third of children scored below basic reading skills.
James Steyer, CEO and Founder of Common Sense Media is concerned that, “Technology is playing an increasingly significant role in kids lives, and it’s changing the nature of how kids read and our definition of what is considered reading. Used wisely, technology such as e-readers could help support ongoing efforts to reduce disparities, promote reading achievement, and fuel a passion for reading among all young people, but we need more research to better understand the impact of technology on kids’ reading,”
According to Professor Daniel Willingham, “…we’re not less capable of reading complex prose, but less willing to put in the work. Our criterion for concluding, ‘this is boring, this is not paying off,’ has been lowered because the Web makes it so easy to find something else to read, watch, or listen to. If I’m right, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that our brains are not being deep-fried by the Web; we can still read deeply and think carefully. The bad news is that we don’t want to.”
Be on the lookout for Daniel Willingham’s new book, “Raising Kids Who Read”. Willingham is a Psychology Professor at the University of Virginia where his focus is on cognitive psychology and neuroscience to k-12. Author also of “Why Don’t Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom”, “What Can You Trust the Experts: How to Tell Good Science from Bad in Education”, “Cognition: The Thinking Animal” among others.