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  • Writer's pictureJenna O'Malley

Reflective Ripples: Is Reading Culture Dying?

Welcome to Reflective Ripples, where we glance into debatable topics about the creative world. On a social media post recently, I saw a question that left my mind scrambled with alarm: “why is reading dying?”

Having taught in public, brick-and-mortar schools and private, virtual schools as an English and developmental reading teacher for the last decade, I found this question quite interesting. Well, also since I read and write as much as I do these days as an author? I thought this topic required further reflection.

As my favorite paranormal romance author, J. R. Ward, said (and I'll paraphrase):

Writers compete internationally against more than other literary media. It's not just TV, movie theaters, and the NES or Sega attracting people’s attention. It's Facebook, Instagram, Twitch streams, YouTube, Disney+, video games like Final Fantasy XIV connecting people across the globe, sporting events, constant 24/7 news media... the list goes on and on.

TL:DR? People are inundated with entertainment options, and the faster they rip through it, the better they feel. Yay, dopamine, much? The literary world is awash with options right now to the point of oversaturation marketwise—and that’s not a genre-to-genre basis, that’s in general.

Also, this part I will say as a former reading specialist in a middle school:

People learn at a young age that reading equals a chore. They were never taught to enjoy a single book for what it is by itself as a piece of art that represents life. No, all the blame is not on their parental figures: though, head’s up. If you want your child to be a better reader, then model what a good reader looks like. A chunk of the blame also lands on the way schools teach reading. As an English teacher and reading specialist, I will admit how often kids analyze e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Otherwise: we failed, and they failed. Constant testing also affected this in many ways... in short: if someone doesn’t model a love of reading to students, how can they be expected to develop the skill without a fight? Sadly, an uphill battle forms.

I would love to see reading sustain as an enjoyable activity. Why do you read or not read?

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