However, the National Endowment for the Arts has discovered that twice the number of seventeen-year-olds since the turn of the century no longer read for pleasure!
What does that say about passing down our love of reading from one generation to the next? Has our love of technology replaced our love of reading books with our kids?
I did an informal poll on Facebook and Twitter. I asked Baby Boomers, Gen Xs, Millennials, and Gen Zs if they had read or listened to traditional stories, folk tales, or nursery rhymes when they were kids. If yes, did or will they pass on the classic poems and stories to their own kids?
The only responses I got were from boomers saying yes to both questions. Even though I’m friends with younger adults, none of them answered. Did that mean they had no idea what I was talking about, didn’t care, or were too busy to respond? I needed the answers, though.
When all else fails, go to plan B, right? So I got online and googled it. The results surprised me!
- Physical books are still preferable over digital
- The Silent Generation (76+) reads for the longest period of time.
- Boomers (56 – 75) are more likely to read bestsellers.
- Gen X (41 -55) are more interested in news and read more online news than anyone else.
- Millennials (26 – 40) are the most likely group to use a public library.
- Eighty percent of Millennials vs. seventy percent of Baby Boomers have read at least one book in the past twelve months.
- Gen Z (5 -25) have increased their reading since the beginning of the pandemic but stick mainly to social media.
And that leads us back to my original question, are parents still reading to their kids?
Eighty-six percent of Baby Boomers who were read to as a child carried on the tradition with their own children. Yet in 2016, the non-profit organization, Read Aloud 15 Minutes found that fewer than half of parents read aloud to their children every day, and only thirty-four percent did so for at least fifteen minutes.
I guess that accounts for the low number of children who read for pleasure now.
My rant is not about turning your kid into a bookworm. Instead, my main concerns are preserving the benefits reading aloud brings to your baby and preschooler – building vocabulary, cognitive and social skills, and preparing for school.
I’ll never give up on my crusade to continue inspiring and encouraging children to be the best they can be. The negative trend in reading aloud to children can be reversed. Will you all help spread the word? Kids today will be our leaders tomorrow. Let’s make them the best leaders we’ve ever had!
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