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Are children really not reading anymore?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by smelly, Jun 4, 2005.

  1. smelly

    smelly
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    Having read the following news item Do Reading Lessons Need Reforming? I was struck by how sad it is that children just don't seem to be as interested in reading anymore. Some people will disagree but the children I know read at school and that seems about it. I know that times have changed and that there is far more choice in TV and the internet nowadays, but I just feel they will miss out on so much. I loved reading when I was a kid, it opened up so many worlds to me and taught me so much! Favourite book - possibly Narnia Chronicles. When my mum used to treat me it was to books not sweets and even to this day although I will eat chocolate and sweets I don't crave them or get the same buzz that I do from buying a stack of books. Mmm sad maybe :D

    I love TV and the internet now and I don't do as much sport as I used to :blush: but I still love reading. Anything and everything. Chick lits to literatary works. Manuals to magazines. I'd back anything that encourages children to read.

    As for the teaching methods? Well I agree with a couple of the comments made in the article that different methods appeal to different people. Why do we have to have one or the other? Teach phonetics to those who prefer, and word recognition to those who prefer that.

    Also agree though that peoples attention spans are a lot less nowadays...and not just children. I often find myself switching to othe......



    :D
     
  2. Miyazaki

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    I think we need to encorporate reading more in modern children's lives. Any young boy would much rather play on their xbox than read a book.

    Having said that when I was a kid about 10 years ago, I would do both, and loved reading. I don't read as much as I used to, but now I think i'd rather play on games than read books. I hardly touch my guitar anymore either.

    I think to kids reading feels more like homework than a joy to do, and most of them avoid it if they can and watch tv instead.

    The solution really lies with almalgamating with technology. Perhaps ebooks for the sony psp, or a talking book channel on tv?

    I don't know the solution, but it doesn't lie with weaning kids off their games and tvs. Perhaps removing tvs from kids bedrooms might help, as they would find other things to do before they goto bed.
     
  3. PaulaB

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    I have never understood why people at work say with some pride that they have never read a book! They know the ins and out of the soaps but read a book, they would rather take poisen!!!!!!

    :suicide:
     
  4. HMHB

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    When I was a kid reading was far more interesting than playing with a stick and a hoop ;)
    I think a lot of the problem these days is that parents won't spend the time with the kids reading and would rather stick them in front of the xbox all day as it keeps them quiet and out of their way.
     
  5. pjclark1

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    I think the problem is down to English teachers being far too boring about books.
    I always remember the hours that my English teacher spent over analysing Shakespeare. Now just think about this, Shakespeare wrote PLAYS, not books. What works completely as performance art, is often not so good if read to oneself. Just imagine, in a few hundred years, an english teacher with the script to "Die Hard" in their hands.
    Teacher "Now pupils, who can explain what they meant by, Yipee-ki-ayyy mother-£$*&@"
    Pupil "Please miss, they were referring to the war cry of a traditional white american hero, Roy Rogers, combined with the war cry of afro american descent, to add interest to a wider ethnic audience"
    Teacher "well done, that's almost right, but why did they bring up Roy Rogers in the first place"
     
  6. bjd

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    Well, my 10 year old daughter loves PC games, XBox etc, but she has also read hundreds more books than I had by her age. I think you need to familiarise children with literature from an early age so that they realise how enjoyable it is. Weekly library visits and time spent reading to and with them from an early stage will encourage them. As far as TV/Internet/Game consoles being responsible for less reading among the young, I disagree. Both my children have access to all of these things, but, as I said earlier, they do more reading than I ever did at their age ( and we only had a burst ball to play with...if we were lucky ;) )
    It's really up to the parents, I think. If they are content to use the TV etc as babysitters, and don't spend time encouraging children to read, it's hardly surprising that most of them don't.
     
  7. pjclark1

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    bjd
    that will change at comprehensive school, reading is popular with many primary children.
     
  8. smelly

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    I think you're right. When and if I'm lucky enough to have children eventually then I'll be encouraging them to read and enjoy books from an early age. But the schools need to get it right as well. If its not enjoyable there or if its seen to be a nerdy thing to read then I would imagine it makes it so much more difficult to maintain their interest.
     
  9. bjd

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    Well, the report was about primary schools, so I'm just pointing out that generalisations are all too easy to make. The "kids these days" opinions are, from my experience, always fairly wide of the mark.
    Whether my kids will continue to read as much or not is unknowable. If they don't, I won't get too upset about it, as they've had a good grounding and can choose to go back to it any time. You can't make people love literature, you can only give them the opportunity to experience it for themselves. It's up to them if they find it rewarding enough to continue reading, but I certainly won't be ranting on about "kids these days" and the bad influences of TV/PCs etc if they choose not to.
     
  10. overkill

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    It isn't just up to the schools. The problem is the national curriculum lays heavy (and increasing) emphasis on English, Maths and science, which for small children (or big come to that), is a huge switch off. If you don't balance childrens learning with activites they do enjoy (art, Humanities) then many get frustrated before they even get to secondary.

    Some people do have a nasty habit of plunking kids in front of 'attention holders', but in the past parents had little time either. However, kids then wanted to read to build a better life for themselves. Now they have distractions and a lack of incentives.
     
  11. smelly

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    Its a vicious circle though isn't it? Isn't the increase in emphasis because standards are falling? Or are you saying that the emphasis is too early? I haven't got kids so I don't know what the curriculum is like nowadays :confused:
     
  12. overkill

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    Actually the problem is that kids are taught to a higher standard than ever before, but as a result more and more are being left behind. Because schools are reliant on filling places to get funding, they need to be doing well on leauge tables (they shouldn't be but there you go) etc. As such they spend much of their time just making sure children can pass their SAT's, rather than what each individual child really needs. However, this is nothing new. Streaming achieved much the same result.

    Children are being taught stuff earlier than we were, and are expected to perform in SATs from an early age. European education systems focus much more on producing a rounded education than we do (all 8 intelligences), and start children from a later age - allowing learning thru play.
     
  13. SanPedro

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    As I type this my two are upstairs reading till they fall asleep - usually on till midnight. Can't stop the little beggars. They're in year 8 and read more now than they ever did. And not just the easy stuff - Lizzie read the Lord of the Rings trilogy back-to-back last year on holiday, and is onto stuff like Interview with the Vampire.

    If anybody has any reading suggestions for her and her brother I'd be grateful.
     
  14. Dr Diversity

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    My 9 year old loves reading. It keeps him quite for at least an hour a day. Reads the good stuff, not just fluff. Recently finished Tom Sawyer.
     
  15. bjd

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    If they haven't already read them, I would suggest things like Anthony Horowitz's Diamond Brother series, and his Alex Rider series. The Lemony Snickett books are also a lot better than the movie, or so I'm reliably informed. I would also let them have a loook at some of the older suff as well, just to see if they like it. Kidnapped, Three Men In a Boat, The Secret Garden, Call Of The Wild, etc.
     
  16. Setenza

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    My Sons school reading list is quite broad. It has titles like Jurassic Park, as well as classic HG Well and Conan Doyle.

    He reads very competantly for a 13 year old but not to the degree that I did when I was his age.

    He recently had a fad for reading Darren Shan, but that was driven by the fact that all his classmates were, rather than through a personal desire to do so.

    I think that a lot of young people have a lot of difficulty relating to the past. The concepts, charactors, historical setting, seem to be out of their reckoning.

    TV seems to be the medium of choice for absorbing information to them.
     
  17. Ed Selley

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    This is the first and for all I know the last time I agree with you. GCSE English Lit (to say nothing of A-Level) seems to be an excercise in joylessness. I remember studying As you like it at A-Level and thanks to a superb teacher I enjoyed it immensely. The syllabus however, seemed intent on sucking every last ounce of joy from what is a fabulous play.

    Compare and contrast this to studying King Solomon's Mines as a twelve year old. My decidedly eccentric but brilliant teacher insisted that during group sessions we adopt the accents of the characters concerned and would periodically insert sound effects where required himself- his African war drum was particularly good. I have always loved reading but can see why many children today, confronted with it as a near scientific excercise might be less keen.
     
  18. Squiffy

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    As an avid reader myself, I very much hope that our kids will share my interest in books.

    Our kids are at the age where they very much enjoy books. The 2 year old twins like having some focussed attention, plus enjoy adding in the sound effects. (Their lion impressions being particularly good).

    Our four year old is still learning to read. We give him lots of attention and encouragement, but if left to his own devices he would prefer to watch TV. It is interesting to note that with far less alternatives as a child, I was reading by the age of 2.5.
     
  19. Solomon Grundy

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    A little off topic but am I the only person who found the teaching advertisements offensive? The ones where we were all depicted as headless (brainless) unless we could take a group of children on a school trip to a science museum and crack a joke about how bald we were.

    However I find it hard to blame English teachers if it is true that kids don't read anymore. I don't have kids yet so this is a far as I can go with this discussion. I read when I was younger because I wanted to.
     
  20. Master Rahl

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    The best solution is to not get a TV. Although, mentioning this on an AV forum is probably not a smart idea.
     
  21. Mep

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    probably not :D thought it's not without merit
     
  22. overkill

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    Thats because it does their thinking (imagining) for them.

    Oh my Tons, I remember it so well! It's no wonder kids hate Shakespeare! I love Chaucer, but I hated it at school as it was presented in such a dry and boring way. Things are changing, and our kids schools have more interactive learning (much like your teacher), but it's not happening fast enough.
     
  23. CooperUK

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    I teach English at a secondary school.

    On the whole kids are reading less and the average reading age is falling.
     
  24. overkill

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    Get on to those parents cooper............ :D
     
  25. eviljohn2

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    I certainly don't read as much as I did at that age now but that's because I like to read books in huge chunks and stop when I want to rather than when the world says I should. I get through loads on holiday!

    I don't think children should have television's in their rooms, I managed quite happily without until I bought my own at the ripe age of 19 - after I joined these forums in fact.

    I quite enjoyed English Lit GCSE but I got to study good books like Lord of the Flies (probably still my favourite despite dissecting it for study), Twelfth Night and a couple of others. These days when I do read I like to vary the intake a bit - sometimes it's a graphic novel, sometimes a proper novel and sometimes an interesting piece of non-fiction (think "How to Dunk A Doughnut" or "In Search of Schrödingers Cat"). Unfortunately I spend most of my time reading textbooks at the moment which really put me off reading for pleasure. :)
     
  26. Chox1988

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    I suppose you could call me a child. I love my PS2 as if it were my own brother. But secondary school only destroyed my want of books. I now read and listen to audiobooks that I find out about myself but the array of books that schools offer to children just arent appealing enough, Romeo and Juliet or Red Storm Rising, I know which I prefer.
     
  27. Toasty

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    If they like Fantasy then I'd recommend David Eddings, starting with The Belgariad - Pawn of prophecy, I really enjoyed his work as a youth and still enjoy his books now.
     

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