Daniel Willingham is a leader in secondary literacy and independent reading, and his recent article, “Why kids lose interest in reading as they get older,” does a good job summarizing a few of the basic reasons that young people’s interest in reading declines as they move into middle and high school.
As students get older, Willingham suggests, reading becomes more of a chore. Teachers require greater comprehension, offer less choice, and demand that students read various genres for various purposes.
None of these reasons is particularly earth-shattering, of course. But they remind me that schools, by themselves, are not in the business of promoting independent reading past mid-elementary school.
If students are going to read widely, they have three choices:
1. Already love to read,
2. Live with a family that loves to read and promotes independent reading,
3. Have a teacher or be part of a program that encourages independent reading.
In other words, if we want our young people to read, it won’t happen automatically. There are too many other fun things to do. But it’s not rocket science. If we care about reading, and if we put good books in front of students, and if we foster a love of reading, then young people will read.
“Attitudes toward reading peak in early elementary years. With each passing year, students’ attitudes towards reading drop.”
Source: http://j.mp/1cm9dNs (via Pocket).