MASON CITY, Iowa – It seems almost criminal, but young people, just aren’t reading for fun as much as they were years ago. And that has teachers and bookstores worried. Now, they’re working hard to help hook kids back on reading.
“That’s kind of frightening. I have a daughter who’s going to graduate this year from West Fork, and knowing she’s going to college, she’s going to have to read. I know that would be much more difficult for her, if she didn’t love to read,” said Tom Novotney.
A recent study by Common Sense Media is showing that kids are reading less for fun. In 1984 eight percent of 13 year olds and nine percent of 17 year olds said they never or hardly ever read for fun. In 2014, that tripled with 22% of 13 year olds and 27% of 17 year olds saying the same thing.
For Lincoln Intermediate Principal, Tom Novotney, he and other teachers are doing their best to keep kids interested in literature. They have two programs in place including one that’s getting kids “checked -in” to reading.
“Its doubled in size this year. It’s called Read/Run. It’s after school. Kids read for 30 minutes and then they go run for 30 minutes and train for a 5k. So we use that as a way to get kids interested,” said Novotney.
And its not just teachers who are concerned.
Alana Jara, Manager of Book World says luckily for them, they’re not seeing the decline.
“I think its sad. I guess I don’t see anything because we sell a ton of teen books, and we just moved our teen books to expand it, so we have a bigger section,” said Jara.
Jara says no matter what, competing with technology like e-books, can be difficult. But, she’s hoping the love of reading a book will never end. “You learn about the world. You learn about other people. It’s good for your vocabulary; its just entertainment,” said Jara.
The study also shows that parents are also reading less to their kids. In 1999, parents read to their kids at least 45 minutes every day. Last year, it dropped to 30 minutes.