I did a quick survey of my brand new Year 8 English class this year. Nice and simple: do you enjoy reading – any form of reading, including magazines, graphic novels, etc? The response – about 5 out of 30 put their hands up for the affirmative.
This is my fourth year teaching Year 8 English and each year I ask the same question. This year’s response is not an unusual one.
As somebody who has been exposed to books and encouraged to read for pleasure from an extremely early age I have always loved reading. My partner, on the other hand, was brought up with books but still hates reading.
It really saddens me when someone – particularly students – tell me they hate reading, because most of them can’t actually explain why. With the exception of those who genuinely have difficulties with reading and writing, of course. Most people enjoy a good narrative until they have to read it. So I wonder what causes this aversion?
Is it a lack of exposure to reading?
Is it indicative of a society that needs instant gratification and reading a book takes too much time?
Is it something else?
And how can I inspire my students to overcome that attitude?