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How can we get people more interested in reading? 
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Post Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
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Post Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
It seems to me that if people don't start reading early and often, they won't be reading much as adults. I remember being too young to read and it frustrated me that I could not read. I couldn't wait to start reading. By 2nd grade, I was reading everything I could get my hands on. I mean, sure, a lot stuff was over my head then but by asking my parents and older siblings what this word and that word was and what it meant, I built a decent vocabulary up on my own.

The problem is that many people stop reading once they hit their teens. While 4th and 5th graders tend to read voraciously, 11th and 12th graders don't want to read anything. They want to ride around with their friends and drink beer and smoke pot. At least that's how it was in my day. I don't know what drugs kids do these days. It wasn't that I didn't do these things. I was a fair druggie in high school but that wasn't all I did. That wasn't my life. I read all the time. Everything from Burroughs to Vonnegut to Poe to Hawthorne to Salinger to Henry Miller to Lovecraft to jazz poetry like Leroi Jones. I would try to get my friends interested in the stuff by reading them passages but it never worked.

I wanted to read forbidden and subversive literature, secret literature. I was a big fan of Chris Miller who wrote fiction for National Lampoon. His stuff was always well written and entertaining. He wrote a few of what I think were autobiographical stories in Nat Lamp concerning a high school student in the 50s identified only as Mr. Rock and Roll and I kind of identified with him. I was kind of the Mr. Rock and Roll at my high school in the 70s. I knew everything about music--not just rock (of which I have an exhaustive knowledge) but jazz, blues, classical. I listened to stuff nobody else at school even knew existed. I would check out books and encyclopedia entries on music and artists and then go find their records. I was the coolest guy that ever lived but I was the only person who knew it. The guys that were regarded as cool were anti-intellectual jerks, for the most part. They never read anything and didn't want to. They were just dumb. They were bad boys and did their best to live up to it because the chicks dug it. They didn't dig me much, that was for sure. In this society, we reward being an idiot. Idiots get attention--hell, idiots get elected to the White House.

It's even worse for girls. Studies show that girls do as well or better than boys academically in elementary school but then start to fall behind badly during their teens. i think that's because society sends an implicit signal to females that hot & dumb is desirable, that guys think it's cute when she's asked what is the largest state in the Union and she says Canada (only she asks it: "I don't know--Canada??") So, as dumb as guys get in their teens, girls get even dumber. This is bad because girls 16-19 with poor literacy are six times more likely to get pregnant and have kids out of wedlock than girls in the same age group who can read and write proficiently.

There is a direct correlation to literacy and poverty. 90% of high school dropouts are on welfare while students who can't read proficiently by 3rd grade are four times likelier to drop out of school than students who can. 75% of food stamp recipients score poorly on simple literacy exams. Low literacy is also directly related to crime. 85% of juveniles caught up in the justice system are functionally illiterate as are 60-70% of inmates (most of whom cannot read above a 4th grade level) while 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by 4th grade wind up in prison.

When I grew up, I had all kinds of books to read. My parents made sure we kids had books. I had read most of the Sherlock Holmes stories by the time I was 10 and read the entire set of works by 14. My mother is an artist and she had a lot of art books which I also read and became familiar with Picasso, Chagall, Klee, Magritte, Ernst, Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, Van Gogh, Japanese shunga art, religious art, you name it. I loved still lifes. I knew all the classics--Huck Finn, Arabian Nights, Greek myths, Faust--because I had all these books to read as a child. Most people, for example, don't know that Aladdin was Chinese. I had a storybook as a boy that depicted him as Chinese. Most people don't realize Little Black Sambo was Indian not African but I had a book that depicted him in a turban and robe with curl-toed shoes. Besides, there are no tigers in Africa. Plus I had books on nature so I read about animals and insects and marine life and spiders and worms and trees.

But I know people who do not have books or they have really shitty ones. I know a guy who has no books other than a single dictionary. Shit, I have several dictionaries and I have one loaded on my computer so I can always look something up quickly. You could sit in my house and read books for the rest of your life and never read them all. But I had many books as a boy and I was encouraged to read, read, read. If it doesn't start there, it doesn't start.

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Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:51 pm
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 Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
8 Ways to Read (a Lot) More Books This Year
https://hbr.org/2017/02/8-ways-to-read- ... -this-year



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Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:02 am
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Post Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
I'd say that DB Roy is an unusually productive reader. I don't know how many books I read per year, maybe 30-40? Of course, it shouldn't be about the numbers. The type of books read, as well as the length of the books, are factors. I can't say that reading many by Danielle Steele or like authors is necessarily superior to watching TV or movies. People may say that dissing such writers is snobbish. The article Landroid found states the essential fact that reading won't compete well with other media that require less effort of us and are designed to appeal to our "fun" centers. I know for me there is a good deal of dribbling away time with the newspaper and several magazines, plus during the colder months I'm pretty into televised basketball. Maybe more than anything else, I'm aware that reading is sedentary, and I like to to be standing or moving quite a bit. How about all those television series that are constantly being made, many of them high-quality, that suck people in so easily? You want to avoid most of those if you intend to make headway in reading.

Whatever good there may be to say about our education system, it doesn't seem to produce that many students who then become committed readers. But it would be unfair to blame the system when there are so many distractions it has to fight against.



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Post Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
By getting them to spend less and less time on the social media.



Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:30 am
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Post Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
Here's one idea that's practical. I read about an elementary school in South Burlington, Vermont, that discontinued homework at the beginning of the year. The parents were asked to help their kids convert the time spent on worksheets into reading time, and were asked to read to them also. There was no accountability tool used such as a log of the reading they did. The teachers and the parents were in favor and say they've seen good results from it.

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/stor ... /89972744/



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Post Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
Personally, I think it's a lost battle. In fact, people read a lot, but what has changed is where, the media, and in this case the media is internet. But at the same time, it is increasingly becoming more visual, with videos, images, and also audio. And the next thing is the virtual reality, which will displace still more to the classic reading of books. At the end we will become robots ... unfortunately. Or maybe I'm pessimistic today, and tomorrow I may think otherwise.


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Post Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
DWill wrote:
Maybe more than anything else, I'm aware that reading is sedentary, and I like to to be standing or moving quite a bit.


I take care of that problem with a tablet and a treadmill. And it pays off doubly because with a good book on the tablet I will spend more time on the treadmill than I would otherwise.
Looking around the gym, I almost never see anyone reading on the stationary bicycles or treadmills, but I do see a lot of ear buds and I don't think they're listening to audio books. I suppose, for most people, it's just so much easier to listen to music.



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Post Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
It is a real shame that readership seems to be declining. Most of my friends will binge-watch TV shows or have movie nights, but they rarely take the time to read a book - even if it's on an e-reader. Outside of my book club, I only have one or two friends who still read for fun. And my book club is primarily composed of teachers and librarians. I'm trying to remain hopeful for the future, though. Books are an artform worth pursuing and keeping alive.



Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:44 pm
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Post Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
I'm gonna have to blame electronic devices, too, even though I know there's not just one culprit. Young kids stuck to their phones when they might possibly have had their noses in a book years ago--a bad thing for development.



Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:41 am
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Post Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
Well, my case is close to what people commented early. When I was a kid between 5 ans 10 years old I use to read everything. I read all the books in my small school's library. I used to go to the library with my mom, she used to read with me at bed Gulliver Travels, Jules Verne adventures, and even Don Quixote! I mean, was really interesting.

At high school was terrible because I had to read to pass some literature tests. Books I really hated. And this lowered my interest on reading. I had to read 6 or 8 books a year because I was obliged, but I used to go to library and get another book that I liked, to read on commute. It was a great time, without internet 24/7, games were offline... And reading at that time wasn't mixed with intense internet stimuli, online games, video streaming, etc.

At college I read only college related textbooks. The rest of my time was in the proto internet (before social media existed), on ICQ and MSN messenger.

After I graduated that feeling to read different stuff returned and I decided to read 1 book a month. At first it was hard. I was not used to do so. But after some years, now I read up to 5 books a month and it is great.

So, to answer the question. I believe that first of all the people have to place themselves out of mass media, understand that books require more effort than watching TV, binge some Series, or stay pressing buttons on a game controller, liking photos and videos on the social websites.

It is a matter of choice. But those activities I mentioned are way easier than the level of abstraction of a book. And most of them are faster. Lets say a book takes 6 to 10 hours to finish. A TV program is 40 min without ads, social media can be consumed in various "sips" of 10 minutes many times a day...

So, why read Jurassic Park if there is a movie about it, that I reach the climax in 30 min instead of 5 hours reading the book? Life in this century is immediate. If you can have a similar result in less time, people often prefer that. Movies over books for example.

In my opinion, book reading is a fading hobby. People read to improve their skills on their jobs, but read for pleasure is scarce

To me, the solution to improve reading is detaching from constant 24/7 internet and TV. But this is hard to most of the population because the activities are easy to engage and require almost no effort from the user. And for sure, teach kids to like reading.



Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:45 am
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Post Re: How can we get people more interested in reading?
Felipebf wrote:
It is a matter of choice. But those activities I mentioned are way easier than the level of abstraction of a book. And most of them are faster. Lets say a book takes 6 to 10 hours to finish. A TV program is 40 min without ads, social media can be consumed in various "sips" of 10 minutes many times a day...

So, why read Jurassic Park if there is a movie about it, that I reach the climax in 30 min instead of 5 hours reading the book? Life in this century is immediate. If you can have a similar result in less time, people often prefer that. Movies over books for example.

In my opinion, book reading is a fading hobby. People read to improve their skills on their jobs, but read for pleasure is scarce

To me, the solution to improve reading is detaching from constant 24/7 internet and TV. But this is hard to most of the population because the activities are easy to engage and require almost no effort from the user. And for sure, teach kids to like reading.


You've offered a very insightful response, but this second half in particular resonated with me. It's so easy to check social media in short bursts throughout the day, but if you added all that time together, you could read a decent chunk of a book!

I know I joined Facebook in late middle school/early high school, so this notification culture has become ingrained in my mind. It's been said that the brain is more pliable than we realize and could be reshaped later than adolescence, but man will it require a lot of work and self-control.



Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:53 am
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