Do e-readers get young people reading? Here’s some more anecdotal evidence. “Author in training” K.D. Rush blogs about his eldest daughter receiving a Nook for Christmas and going from someone who just doesn’t care for reading to the sort of person who pulls a paperback version of The Hunger Games out of her purse when she asks her father if he wants to see the movie based on it.

Now, that might not seem strange to the average parent, but to me it was mind blowing. Imagine your daughter pulling a snake out of her purse and suggesting that you attend this great new church she found. That might be close to my own disbelief standing there listening to her go on and on about a book that she was reading. Who is this kid, and where did my daughter go?

Rush adds that he hopes e-book reader prices fall by next Christmas, as he can think of a number of people to whom he would like to give “the miracle of reading.”

I’ve heard this sort of story a number of times, and it makes me wonder: is the problem with people not wanting to read anymore perhaps just because they’ve become used to digital media and don’t relate well to dead trees? Perhaps that might explain why e-readers are becoming so popular with young people.


  1. I think the basic problem these days is how kids are exposed to reading. When I was going to school, I was exposed to story after story that held very little interest for me. I didn’t hate reading, but the idea of picking up a book for fun was about as alien to me as the notion of going to the dentist for fun (ok, maybe not quite that alien). Then in eight grade, my teacher required us to do a book report a week. It seemed horrific at first, but there was one upside; I was allowed to pick the book. It took me about a month to discover Science Fiction. I have been a reader ever since (and my interests have broadened somewhat, though literary science fiction still remains a core entertainment for me).

    I think the key here is, that kids are often turned off of reading because they see it as work, and the stories they are asked to read are boring to them (probably unavoidable when you have 20 different students with different interests all reading the same stories). Given them an opportunity to find out that reading can be fun, by whatever means, and you might create life long readers.

  2. I think I was in college working on a degree in English before I read something for class that I actually enjoyed. If you want to turn the average teenager off reading, assigning Dickens and Steinbeck will do it.

  3. Is it the same for people exposed to books since they were babies? I was read to when I was very young and just continued on with it when I could read by myself. Yes, the stories in the school readers were boring, but by then I was reading other things, so I did what I had to with the school readers and then moved on to my own books. So did my children and grandchildren. Everyone in my family has loved to read and we have mostly switched to Kindles now. I do think early continuous exposure is the key and feel sorry for those who never had this.

  4. @Mary

    Not sure if this answers your question or not, but I have a two year old daughter who is read to CONSTANTLY by her parents and grandparents (at her insistence, BTW!)

    Our nook color has really become hers now- I can’t use it without her noticing and making me read one of her books. But she still loves and gets excited about paper books – she has no format bias one way or the other.

    She also uses the nook independently, since she has figured out how to turn it on, bypass the child locks and get to the books she wants (we have to hide it to prevent unsupervised use).

  5. I agree that the key is kids enjoying books, which means allowing them to choose. As an English teacher, I’d like to see more freedom of choice in reading. I can’t see a problem with assigning a review of something the student enjoys reading: I’ve often done that, and discovered some good books that way. 😉

    In adult literacy, I remember one guy we taught to read by using greyhound magazines. That was what interested him.

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