Kate recently asked the following question on Twitter:
"Do you think a lot of kids this age (though more the upper end) lose interest in reading because books are "boring" or because other activities are more appealing/interesting/fun?"
Here's a link to the Twitter thread if you prefer to read it all there.
But, here are a few of the very interesting answers we received from booksellers, parents, librarians, teachers, authors and more!
"This is such a great question. I think it depends on growing # of friends & interests. Mine slowed in their reading by 12/13. Sports and hmw took up free time. And netflix. But they came back to reading by 16-17yrs, but then preferred adult books to YA."
"I think it's a mix of both. For my kids, they started losing interest high school when they were being made to read books they weren't interested in! My 15 yo reads more MG than YA books! Their biggest problem is that publishers weren't publishing the books they wanted to read! It's not even classic texts. Two books that put my son off are The Hunger Games and The Handmaids Tale - he's just no into Dystopian. He loved A Christmas Carol :) There is also little encouragement for kids to just read for fun, especially in high school!"
"Our kids are being taught that reading is something you "have to do" rather than something they should "want to do.""
"They totally are - my teens stopped reading as they got the message from school that it was something that had to be done! Until they discovered books from unexpected places. I want to teach kids that reading is something that is fun :)"
"Both, but also libraries not making it easy to find what they were interested in and so many not being encouraged to continue reading. When I was in school our teachers mourned kids didn't know the Bible so they didn't get the references in books. Now many schools don't have"
"I do think that finding what they want is probably one of the most important factors. My big reader is a book omnivore: her current reads include an adult NF, a YA fiction and a MG graphic novel. My other will only read the specific things she wants."
"I wonder sometimes if it's because the market is too chopped up. My 10y/o doesn't want to read what my 7 y/o reads. Everything is so labeled that kids will find a series then age out of it. The industry creates a stigma with labels."
"Honestly, by this age most of the kids I see who aren't big readers never developed a passion for it because they struggled with reading when they were younger or still do. I wish there were more books on lower reading levels that were still geared toward middle grade kids. My degree is in Middle level education, and I just can't advocate enough for struggling readers. 12 year olds reading on an 8 year old level, don't want to be seen with the books that they can read."
"Teacher here. lack of interest is because it’s not funny or the books are trying to teach a lesson. Kids want entertainment, not for an emotional breakthrough"
"Electronics has taken our MG minds, so I guess you could say its gotten boring to read than play video games, they never even know how the book is if they never even pick it up!"
"As a teacher I would say both. It’s interesting that a lot of them feel there aren’t a lot of books that represent what they’re into but rather what adult authors think they are"
"With my kiddo, it's because the books intended for his age are either too young in content ("for little kids") or too high in vocabulary (which is "too schoolish"). It's like he needs a book that is mature in content w/low vocab. I mean, we see it all the time for adult books."
"I think a lot of it stems from the fact that we keep telling them they aren’t allowed to read what they want to read. “Graphic novels don’t count.” “You’re too old for those books.” “Read something more challenging...” All reading should be celebrated!"
"I think it’s more the appeal of social media and outside activities (sports etc) But they are also in-between age ranges since there’s not a ton of upper mg so my more mature readers bump to ya but some aren’t ready"
"My students start losing interest in reading in 3rd grade. I have to work harder to promote books. I think some of the books written for this age are too long and they don't have the stamina to complete them."
"My kids got frustrated because they were ready for more difficult books but didn't want the romance and issues so common in YA. They moved right into certain adult books (which were more adventure driven than YA!). The MG books I'm writing now are intended to fill the gap. :)"
"My daughter is a voracious reader at 11. I'm concerned, though, that she's going to have a harder time as she gets older. She's a very gentle soul and doesn't like a lot of scary content (among other things). I think books for her age are getting a little too dark for her."
"I believe a love of reading is either destroyed or never started because schools force kids to read uninteresting things. Or things that may have appealed to other generations, but this generation is so different from older ones, it doesn't work. Letting a kid read a book of their choice not only inspires a sense of freedom, it also allows a kid to develop their own taste in books, and to find something they love reading"
So, some pretty interesting thoughts and opinions. But what do you think?
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