School students shunning books for the Internet: Study

October 9th, 2008 - 3:33 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Oct 9 (ANI): Secondary school pupils in Britain are abandoning books for the Internet, according to a new research.

Jonathan Douglas, the director of the National Literacy Trust, said that publishers must adapt titles to the demands of modern young readers who spend more time on the Internet if they are to succeed in persuading the next generation to read.

The typical eight-year-old reads nearly 16 books a year but, by the time they reach 15 or 16, this has dwindled to just over three books per year.

The big drop-off starts after the first year of secondary school, when the number of books read falls from nearly 12 a year to just six.

The study, based on interviews with nearly 30,000 pupils aged seven to 16, also shows a growing trend towards reading comics, magazines, newspapers and online articles, and playing computer games, after the first year at secondary school.

“Reading books does not maintain the strength of its hold on young people as an activity. It begins to diminish from the age of 11. Publishers and the book trade must reinvent the book. They have to produce more graphic novels. Children are much more visually conscious than they were before and the book trade must reflect this, the Independent quoted Douglas, as saying.

“Reading is not a static activity. It has always changed from one generation to another, depending on where literacy skills sat within society and what texts were available and why,” he added.

Many respondents did not believe they were engaging in reading if they were scanning items online.

“Twenty-nine per cent did not see themselves as readers but they were spending a vast amount of time reading online, Douglas said.

“They thought reading only related to books. This shows we will have to develop new strategies for promoting reading to children in future.”

One way would to do this would be to ensure that more classic books and novels were made available online with illustrations, he added.

The study entitled What Kids Are Reading, by Professor Keith Topping of Dundee University, has been presented to a national conference on literacy and numeracy in Stansted. (ANI)

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in National |