A recent study published by Renaissance UK has revealed that GCSE students are reading books three years below their age. Find out what our librarian, Amanda Lockwood had to say on the subject. Read her full response below:
“This is interesting but not surprising. Almost everything children come across these days is “chunked” for them, so page after page of continuous text is not always a challenge they are willing to face. Even the layout of textbooks annoy me – those boxes everywhere, breaking things up into tiny micro-topics. Where’s the big picture? Where’s the sustained theme? No wonder the average reading age is so poor. The effort required, the delayed gratification of reading – I worry about how children who don’t read will deal with other aspects of life that demand these skills. I often use an analogy with exercise or healthy eating – they allow us to make the most of ourselves – which is what reading does for the brain. Those pesky little screens that give them tasty nibbles ruin their appetites!
Obviously these findings are averages. There are children who simply will not read, but equally there are still a heartening number of bookworms. It is pretty certain that the bookworms will be doing better academically than their peers. This is not a chicken/egg scenario – the readers have mental stamina, can hold more information in their heads due to following multiple plots, have greater prediction skills (what could happen next?) and empathy (how might I feel in this situation?)…and the more challenging the text, the stronger these skills become. If they are still reading Wimpy Kid at 14, it’s better than not reading at all but my goodness they should be bored silly with it. I suspect that it’s not just reading age that is affected but emotional and social development.”