The fiction book is dead, writers should focus on interactive content instead.
Children are now far more likely to read emails and websites than comics, according to a survey of more than 18,000 eight to seventeen-year-olds. The survey was carried out in the United Kingdom by the National Literacy Trust, who quizzed the children about their out of school reading habits. Just under a fifth had never been given a book as a present and 12% had never been to a bookshop. 7% had never been to a library. Despite public claims by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, that children should be reading 50 books a year, children are not interested in reading fiction books when they can be online. If writers are serious about reaching out to children and encouraging them to read, they need to focus on interactive content that can be read and enjoyed online.
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The British youth need more reading challenges and spelling bees
"In March, Michael Gove, the education secretary, said children aged 11 should be reading 50 books a year. He said schools in the UK should follow America's independently-run, state-funded charter schools, at least one of which sets pupils a "50-book challenge" over the course of a year.
The National Literacy Trust said "fresh approaches" were urgently needed to encourage young people to read more. "The number of children who never read a book suggests the government has a huge challenge on its hands if the 50 books-a-year initiative is to reach every child," it said. Last year, a major international study of children's reading revealed British children had fallen from 17th to 25th place in the world."
The Harry Potter craze is coming to a slow close and no novel series geared towards young people has replaced it. The question on Nikesh Shukla's mind is " Why wasn't Waterstone's looted?" [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2011/aug/12/reading-riots-waterstones-looted-books]] while stores with expensive brands were smashed and looted freely book stores remain virtually untouched. This maybe refective of how reading is almost an exclusively white-middle-class activity not attractive to protesters in penury. A lot needs to be done to make reading accessible to all.
Fire was a big part of the looting burning spree that faced Britain recently. Perhaps stealing highly flammable paper-backs was not the most logically appealing idea under the circumstances. Also, I refuse to believe that poor people associate themselves with expensive fashion branded shoes/bags/etc or other things that were looted that they could not normally afford. Let us not turn a blind eye to the irrevocable fact that most of the greatest most celebrated British writers of the past and present rose(and continue to rise) from impoverished backgrounds.
Spelling bees, encourage rote-learning dictionary/thesaurus definitions/entries not reading per se. Children tend to cheat on reading comps as well, watching films/shows based on novels [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wishbone_(TV_series)]] rather than reading actual novels and children also resort to reading or viewing interactive online summaries etc. Saying you read fifty books a month or that you don't read at all does not really mean anything.
Tell that to J.K Rowling
''I'm a fan of the Harry Potter books. There. I said it. Whenever I visit a bookstore I can't resist a walk through the Young Readers section, where my heart flutters at cover illustrations of dragons and detectives and ghosts and kids dashing across fantastic landscapes. I've always loved those stories, and many times I take the books from the shelves and, with chills running up and down my arms, thumb through them. Sometimes I even smell them. (There. I said that, too.)'' [[http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/movies/commentaries/2011/potterjesusme.html]]
"Eager fans camp outside a London bookstore, a full 48 hours before the seventh and final book of the series, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, goes on sale" [[http://www.hellomagazine.com/celebrities-news-in-pics/19-07-2007/]]
The potter books are longer(700 plus pages, generally), more entertaining and far more complex than the teen/kiddie reads that preceded the series. and Yet the fan following among readers of all ages has been phenomenal. To say that young people do not read is absurd in light of this.
But that was back in 2007, now the films and interactive websites are far more popular than the books. No more Harry Potter books will come out, what will the young read?
Why read hardy boys or Tom Swift or Nancy drew or Enid Blyton or Agatha Christie books or Bapsi Sidhwa or R.K Narayan or any classical novel, when half the shows on T.V feature similar or the same content? Every good book is turned into a film and the watching the film at most times is the easier choice. I, for one have watched more John Grisham- novel based films than actually read John Grishams.
The read-all-the-time and read-not divide exists but the majority reads once in a while
"New National Literacy Trust research* of 18,141 children reveals a polarised nation of young readers with 1 in 6 reporting that they don’t read a single book in a month, while 1 in 10 say they read more than 10 books in a month.
This divide between the “reads” and the “read-nots” is concerning because the research shows reading frequency has a direct link to attainment, as 8 in 10 children who read over 10 books a month are above average readers compared to just 3 in 10 of those who rarely read. "
The general fiction-reading trend is at least one book a month, the one's who do not read fiction outside of coursework may not necessarily be missing on anything. Since novels are studied within their academic curriculum.
Why should non-fiction novels not be counted as 'reading material' . A lot of true stories and adapted true stories are long and engaging. They are Favorited among young fans very often. Celebrity biographies are easy reads but reads nonetheless.
The read and read-not divide is a matter of grave concern.
" Fresh approaches are urgently needed to encourage young people to read more. However, the number of children who never read a book suggests the government has a huge challenge on its hands if Michael Gove’s “50 books a year” initiative is to reach every child.
The research also found that:
77% of children who read for longer than an hour at a time are above average readers, while just 4% who read for over an hour are below the level expected of them.
Only 30% of children who read for up to 10 minutes at a time are above average readers, with 20% below the reading expected level for their age.
Text messages are the most popular thing for children to read outside of class with 60% saying they read texts outside of class at least once a month.
Children who read text messages but not fiction books are twice as likely to be below average readers compared to those who also read fiction (10% versus 5%)." if you don't count text readers and non-fiction fiction readers, reading is falling to a bare minimum. [[http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/news/3834_the_reads_and_the_read-nots]]
So 14-16 year-olds read more often and enjoy it, that's good
"The research also found that the older the children are, the less likely they are to read. The 14- to 16-year-olds were 11 times more likely than the seven- to 11-year-olds to say they had not read a book in the last month.
Half said they read emails and websites at least once a month. Only just over a quarter – 27% – flick through comics.
Magazines have overtaken fiction and non-fiction books. Just 46% and 35% curl up with a fiction or non-fiction book, while 58% read magazines.
Girls are more likely to read emails and websites than boys, but boys prefer newspapers, the poll shows.
Some 56% of girls read emails at least once a month, compared to 44% of boys. Some 38% of boys read a newspaper once a month, compared to 30% of girls." [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/aug/23/survey-children-reading-habits]]
To be fair. comics of today are not half as interesting or engaging as the Tin-tin series, Archie-comic-series, Astérix, Les aventures du Calife Haroun el Poussah classics that lasted on teenage reading lists for decades. Then came the visually superior "Graphic novels" that engulfed the comic book industry by storm. and them they weren't as trendy as before and the comic book age closed into a cult-fan end.
The web comic book series' of both phdcomics [[http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php]] and xkcd [[http://xkcd.com/]] are very popular with young people today. Newspaper comics have lost their charm.
Actually according to the transcript on the right, 14-16 year olds do not read as often as 11-year olds. But maybe younger children are prouder of reading than their teenage counterparts, this is not something knew. young children often boast about things that make them sound/seem smarter than grownups or older kids. To them saying they read or reading avidly is a compensation for their lack of height.
Well, a lot of news comes from websites. most new organizations have moved their papers to websites and this service (reading the paper online) is usually free. The control group for this research (as that of any) was not representative of young people everywhere
in the world and hardly representative of young people in Britain. Factors such as the fact that a lot of people lie in polls, do not take surveys seriously etc should also be taken into account.
British primary school S.A.T scores are actually rising
So, while a few thousand Brit kids prefer reading newspaper articles or website articles over comic books and tediously written descriptive novels, their academic performance is actually ameliorating [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/aug/02/primary-school-sats-results-rise]] in complete contradiction to that one survey's conclusion. News articles whether online or on paper are far more educational, smartly written and conducive to learning/vocabulary-building than say a Twilight series novel. The Harry Potter series was an exception to the average-teen-geared-series (explaining why Rowling had such a hard time getting the first book published) smartly written with tidbits of general knowledge entries doctored into a Hogwarts world. One of the joys of reading a Potter, to me was connecting many of the spells, potions and novel concepts with externally existing myths, legends and current-cult-philosophies.
The problem is not that British Children are not smart readers but that contemporary teen-reads (minus the dead and buried in 2007 Potter series) are not smart enough for the average British/international child.
Breaking the glass ceiling of A'level As. There are more A' level distinctions, more A' Levels taken in our time than ever before. Kids are more competitive spend hours on end cracking test-taking methods/skills and proving that educational prowess is out into a golden age of supremely intelligent individuals. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Moeen_Nawazish]] The world renown pathetic american school education system is a hardly a model that the rest of the world should be following. [[http://socyberty.com/education/american-education-has-become-a-pathetic-joke/]]
But since smarter young people are more interested in smarter, interactive, quick-read articles the lengthy point on the right lands in favor of authors concentrating on knowledge based, educational website or newspaper quickies rather than poorly written debauchery-teaching weak yet popular-in-the-American-world teen-fiction.
What do you think?