Reading Decline in the Millennials
Reading Decline in the Millennials
When I think of reading, I think of going outside on a nice day and sitting in a hammock and relaxing, or sitting by a fireplace in the winter with a cup of hot coco. I absolutely love to read, and I knew that I wanted to do an essay over reading at some point in my college career and this was a perfect one. My research question was “Has there been a drop in interest in reading with the millennial generation?” When I started this project I really did want to know if this was something that was really happening. When I found out that it was I could not believe it. When looking at the criteria for the PowerPoint I really did not know if the questions were going to get answered. The questions, though, got answered. This topic is not the most controversial issue, but it is definitely something that needs to be addressed. Children and teens are just not reading enough and it needs to be stopped.
When researching this topic, one thing that I really wondered was who does this affect? I answered my own question when I was sitting there thinking about it. This is an issue that really affects everyone. It affects college students, teachers, professors, mothers, fathers, guardians, younger generations, and politicians. It affects college students because we are part of this generation. If we are not reading then vocabulary will not develop, but I will get to that later. Teachers and professors have to deal with this issue because they assign reading for class, and most students do not do the reading because they are more concerned with Facebook.
Mothers, fathers, and guardians are affected by this issue because they are helping pay for college and if the student is not doing what they are supposed to do grades are affected. Younger generations see older generations as role models. If generation Y is not interested in reading then they will not be interested and that could cause many downfalls. Finally, politicians are affected. They are not helping budget cuts to schools and they are not implementing any programs to encourage reading and if students are not reading for fun they are more than likely not interested in the elections.
While 18-24 year-olds used to be the ones that read the most, now they are the least likely to pick up a book. The November report, “To Read or Not to Read,” cites statistics that shows fifteen to twenty- four year olds spend an average of seven minutes per day outside of school reading. Thirty and forty year olds on average spend twelve minutes of daily reading and fifty to sixty year olds spend about thirty minutes of time daily on reading. These are terrifying statistics.
According to the Department of Education, between 1992 and 2005, the percentage of twelfth graders reading at or above a proficient level dropped from forty percent to thirty-five percent.. My school had a pretty good size library and we also had a program called Rosie Readers. My graduating class had eighty six students and only five seniors participated. That is only five percent of my graduating class. All you had to do to be in this program was read five books from a list of around twenty novels. Though there is not a large amount of statistics that back up my research. The statistics that I did find were just astonishing to me.
The counterargument to this argument is that reading is moving swiftly from paper to the Internet. This is especially true for the y generation. While fewer people may be reading traditional texts like novels or magazines “the number of people posting original material online is large and represents a new form of literacy”, says University of Wisconsin Professor of English Deborah Brandt. “The idea that reading will now develop in the context of writing is a new chapter in the history of literacy,” she says. “We’ve been under the impression that people learn to write by reading — that you write to share what you’re reading” — but now writing is beginning to rival reading in time spent on that activity. The millennial generation is the texting generation. With all of the text reading and “Facebooking” it could easily add up to a fiction novel. Also, reading has some disadvantages.
One disadvantage is eye strain. Eye strain can be caused by intense use, such as, reading, driving for extended periods, or working at a computer. As a result of the eye strain you can get a headache and have itchy or burning eyes. This will go away with resting the eyes and some pain reliever. This is not a serious matter. Another disadvantage is that it can be very time consuming. I know when I read, I read for about two hours if not more. So far this semester I have already stayed up until two in the morning reading a book that I just couldn’t put down. If we spend time reading we may not be able to study or do homework. The last disadvantage is sitting still for a long period of time. Sitting for long periods of time, even with exercise, has a negative effect on our health. What’s worse, many of us sit up to 15 hours a day. That means some of us spend the bulk of our waking moments on the couch, in an office chair, or in a car.
Right after you sit down, the electrical activity in your muscles slows down and your calorie-burning rate drops to one calorie per minute. This is about a third of what it does if you’re walking. My counterargument is that when people read text messages and blogs they are not reading proper grammar. In a report released from the State Examination Commission in Ireland, our ability to write in English is slowly deteriorating. The main culprit behind the deterioration is text messaging. We are forming shorter sentences, using simpler tenses of verbs and, worst of all, little punctuation. Most cell phones these days have the option to use T9 or similar technologies that will spell words 4 U (for you), making txt msging (text messaging) even faster. Some people don’t have a 2nd (seconds) to spare; they have jobs, classes and people to luv (love), so even contemplating the time it takes to write correctly seems ridiculous. Students sometimes do not realize they are using text lingo in their academic writing. Reading has many advantages that can help a student. The first advantage to reading is an academic one.
As stated by John London at EHow, “Reading activates parts of the brain that may remain dormant. Stimulating the brain through reading helps keep it strong and active, thereby reducing the risk of developing conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease while improving concentration and memory.” Reading requires remembering details, facts and figures and in literature, plot lines, themes and characters. Reading is a valuable learning tool that helps expand knowledge, skills and vocabulary. Reading forces us to look at words that we might not have seen or heard. The second advantage is social. If you read a lot of books, you’ll always have something to talk about. You can discuss various plots in the novels you read, you can discuss the stuff you are learning in the business books you are reading as well.
The possibilities of sharing are endless. Also if a group of people are reading Hunger Games you may want to know what they are talking about. Aside from being able to gossip with your friends about who Katniss should marry, Peeta, it also helps people understand different cultures. According to Education Culture, books help us understand different people and their cultures and the struggle of embracing yourself and your culture. We cannot understand what we do not know about. Books can expand your horizons by letting you see what other cities and countries have to offer before you visit them. The culture doesn’t have to be a real one. Even reading a book like Matched, where the society controls every aspect of your life, we can understand different cultures. It makes us think about what life would be if we had that type of government. The third and certainly not the last advantage is psychological.
Lucy Halfhead states that reading is the best way to relax and even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds or 68%. New research by Mindlab International at the University of Sussex says reading works better and faster than other methods to calm frazzled nerves such as listening to music, going for a walk or settling down with a cup of tea. Psychologists believe this is because the human mind has to concentrate on reading and the distraction of being taken into a literary world eases the tensions in muscles and the heart. When I’m reading a book, my mind shifts gears. Where I might have had a stressful day, a book can easily distract me. Reading an awesome fiction book is perfect right before bed time. The best way to try and combat this issue is to implement some school programs with reading. My high school had a reading program called Rosie Readers.
The Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award (Rosie Award) is chosen annually by students across Indiana in grades nine through twelve. Students at participating high schools and public libraries who read any of approximately 20 nominated books are eligible to rate each book they’ve read. Ballots are available on the Rosie website. The votes are tabulated each May, and the winner is announced. Any school in Indiana enrolling students in grades nine through twelve can participate if they: make sure at least 12 of the nominated titles are available to students, provide voting forms for each student who has read at least one of the nominated books, and tally their students’ voting forms and report the results to the Rosie Award Committee by May first. Public libraries are encouraged to purchase and publicize the Rosie books and encourage their students to vote at school. If some of the schools in the library’s service area do not participate, those students may vote at the public library.
Participating public libraries must also provide at least 12 of the nominated titles. We would read five books, or more, from a list and document them. At the end of the year we would have a party with prizes. Other schools could implement similar programs. Schools can work with the local public library for “over the summer” programs for more people that are older. When someone is encouraging someone to read they have to do it in a way that will not make them rebel. When encouraging you should not pressure, nag, or bribe; criticize what someone reads; or lavish too much praise. When encouraging someone to read show them the benefits: you can become an expert on a topic, live dangerously through the book, have a few laughs, use your brain, see the world without travel, get some free advice, escape the outside world, and find a cause. Schools may not have the resources to have these types of programs. If schools are large they may not have a sufficient amount of novels to choose from.
Not every library has a librarian that will work hard for their students. Our school was lucky to have our librarian, Ms. Northern. The libraries also may not have enough books for the students. Since school budgets are getting cuts they may not have the funds for these programs. Our school did not have the funds for these types of programs, but we fundraised and also got donations. Ms. Northern had each student that was able go to local businesses and as for donations or just a small gift that they could give. We live in an area that had several shops just fifteen minutes away. Most of the businesses would either give a gift card to their shop or a small item. The prizes were very nice. We had had an autographed novel and even autographed posters from the authors. Another thing that we did was a reading marathon. We would ask for promises to pay for every page that we would read they would donate a certain amount of money. The most effective way to also get money was selling things. We had a bake sale and also sold items for the pampered chef. Pampered Chef is a kitchen supplies company.
The company has consultants that sell the products at home parties. The host invites people to come and purchase items. Pampered Chef offers quality items that many people stock their kitchen with. Pampered Chef also offers fundraising opportunities for students where they receive a portion of the sales. Through some grants we were able to get the newest books and kept up with the demand of novels needed. Ball State University students need to be aware that they need to read. They should do so right on campus. It is very easy to get your hands on a book. Bracken Library is available to students and staff daily Monday through Thursday seven am to three am, Friday from seven am to nine pm, Saturday from nine am to seven thirty pm, and last Sunday from ten am to three am. Hilde Calvert Head of Collection Development at Ball State University informed me that there are over 1.5 million books in just Bracken. More specifically there are 19,453 Juvenile literature titles and 12,146 Juvenile fiction titles. There are so many books that it is will be impossible not to be able to find a book that is interesting.
There are several places on campus that you can read. There are an unlimited number of green shady places that you can sit and enjoy the fresh air. If you like to read indoors you can either read in your room or the very quiet fourth floor of Bracken. If you have trouble thinking of a book to read you can search the CardCat. It is available online and also at Bracken. There you can hold books, search for books, and renew the amazing written work consisting of pages glued together along one side and bound in covers. It is very easy to navigate. My research question was “Has there been a drop in interest in reading with the millennial generation?” In conclusion the y generation has slowly reduced the amount of reading that they previously did. They have moved to more electronic forms of entertainment. There are also many benefits to reading. The best way to combat this is to have programs set up.
Calvert Head of Collection Development at Ball State University, Hilde.”Bracken lsdkjlkdjLibrary Inventory.” Interview by Rachel Harmon. 26 Oct. 2012: n. pag. Print Clemmitt, Marcia. “Reading Crisis?” CQ Researcher 22 Feb. 2008: 169-92. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. lsdkjlkdjHalfhead, Lucy. “Reading Cuts Stress Levels by 68%.” Marie Claire. Marie Claire lsdkjlkdjMagazine, 30 Mar. 2009. Web. 28 October. 2012. lsdkjlkdj<http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/health/314426/reading-cuts-str
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 10 January 2017
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