Sunday, October 1, 2023

Does our generation still read?

Richard Steele, a famous author in the 17th century once said, “Reading is to the mind is what exercise is to the body.”

But is that true today? It seems like fewer kids are reading. I haven’t read a book fully through since early high school.

After asking 50 students on Plattsburgh campus if they still read, 85 percent said no. When asked why they don’t read one student, Bryan Kilpatrick told me that it’s because he can’t focus on reading long enough to enjoy the book.

I think that is due to technology. Technology was introduced to us as children and is prominent in our society. All of this technology has caused us to lose our attention span for reading books.
Another reason our generation might not be reading is that we don’t have many important figures telling us that reading is important.

For example, Donald Trump is the first president who doesn’t actively read. He hasn’t read the previous autobiography’s of old presidents that new presidents read to understand what is going to be like as the leader of our country.

Even though Donald Trump might not be the most popular president, we are supposed to look up to him, and he does impacts us even if he doesn’t realize it.

It’s not just our president. Celebrities are too focused on promoting their social media status to care about other important things like reading and education. Out of all people, they should be the ones to advocate for reading because half of them write books about themselves anyway.

Our society has put reading on the back burner. In an article in The Conversation, the author, Debra Kachel, talks about how libraries in schools are disappearing. “The number of school libraries in New York City has dropped from nearly 1,500 to 2005 to around 700 in 2014,” Kachel said. Another mind-blowing statistic mentioned in the article was the 1 to 7,000 librarians-to-students ratio in California. This is the lowest ratio in America.

Urban areas are where we need libraries the most. There is a larger population in these areas and when you take basic things away from children like the right to read, they are getting set up for failure.

People always seem to target our generation for things like not reading and being on our phones too much, but it’s not our fault. We are all reading in our own way. A lot of people are age read summarized news articles. Snapchat even features The Washington Post and The Daily Mail in their discovery page where they let users read shortened articles.

With all this, it’s evident that we need to change our morals and reestablish the importance of reading to children. We need influential people to shine a light on reading and we need our government to stop cutting libraries from our schools.

It’s also time for us as millennials to prove people wrong. If people think that reading is what makes up smart, then it’s our job to stay educated even if we aren’t reading.

Email Tracey Fox at

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