Why Kids Don’t Read?

Kids do not imagine because they do not read. The concept of discovering flying carpets and trees that speak and dogs that follow is lost on them. Well, but of course, the iPad has taken over or so it seems. Kids do not read because parents do not have the time to introduce them to stories by reading to them at night. Kids do not read because parents haven’t read in their lives and are too busy focusing on their grades and extra-curricular activities and what will it take for them to apply to a University in the United States of America. Sadly, good literature isn’t a criterion. Kids do not read because they are too busy posing for pictures which the mother will eventually upload on Facebook and use it to change her BlackBerry display picture, once every four hours.

Kids do not read because they haven’t seen the insides of a library. They do not know what it feels like to visit one – to see stacks and rows of books, to want to pick one of them and get lost is beyond their imagination. Kids do not read because they do not see their parents reading. They find the need to be inconsequential, and maybe it is, for the entire family. Kids do not read because they are busy comparing the new gadgets bought and which is the latest version of Angry Birds – whether in space or not.

Kids do not read because it isn’t the cool thing to do. Kids do not read because some teachers do not introduce them to reading, and I have seen this take place in some schools. Kids do not read because they do not have the patience. They get intimidated by the size of a book. Once in a while comes a Harry Potter series but that’s just once in a while. Moreover, the younger lot is happier watching the film version than reading the books.

Kids do not read because television and homework have take over their lives. They are not interested in the concept of paper and glue, and weaved words of fantasy and imagination. Children do not know Enid Blyton, but I am sure they know the name of the new Salman Khan movie. That’s how things stand today. They do not read. They do not imagine. It is as simple as that and I hope that that changes. I hope parents read to them at night, when the moon is high in the sky and the stillness in the air makes way for dreams – of the whispering trees, of wizards and dwarves, of broomsticks and magic, of a horse called Black Beauty, of 20000 leagues under the sea, and a world that is still not lost. The world of reading.

15 thoughts on “Why Kids Don’t Read?

  1. andrea414

    Perhaps this is the case for many kids. I don’t see it as much, because I am a reader, and I have always had books in my kids’ lives. I also volunteer at the grade schools and read with kids there. Check with your local schools. I am sure they would be happy to have you come in and read to some children. It takes a village. (-:

  2. Reema Sahay

    Hmm…since I am a reader and very conscious about making my son one, I don’t see myself becoming the kind of parent you described. I consciously keep my baby away from TV, even if he is just a baby right now. I am addicted to internet to some extent but I am working on sorting that out. I hate when people do not have conversations looking at each other, and just talking while typing sms or reading one or worse surfing. Technology is creating havoc with our attention span. That is the only thing I worry about!

  3. ladynimue

    Am all thanks to ym teachers who got em into reading from Class V ! and to my mom who always appreciated this habit [ as per her, it kept me hooked to my room and so less trouble for her ] 😀

    Indeed kids today lack imagination and knowledge ’cause they do not read .. not just literature or books , even the newspaper is forgotten. I for one still love going through it once a day. As relaxing as you want it to be !

  4. breezybeer

    Look at the other side too. Kids don’t read coz they are already occupied with burden of loads of studies. Kids don’t read coz writers write beyond their vocab skills. They don’t understand and thus prefer keeping themselves away rather than dealing with the complex feeling. Kids don’t read coz writers don’t write for them. They write for “YOUTHS”. And as far as I know, almost all kids have read Chetan Bhagat. That’s coz it’s pleasure reading him. Other writers are just intellectualls running the races of ‘best vocab skill’.

    1. thehungryreader Post author

      I do not agree to this. There are writers who write for kids or have written for them. Vocabulary only increases when you read some.

    2. Zwex

      This is an extremely ignorant comment. There are so many books written for all ages of children. There are so many books written for them that teachers can easily categorize them by reading level in a quality classroom. If you are going to tell me that the Very Hungry Caterpillar has complex vocabulary then I don’t know what else to say. There are many authors out their that have or are still writing for children. Authors like Dr. Seus, Patricia Polacco, Avi, and Gary Paulson have been writing books for all ranges of age groups and developmental levels. If you need ideas for books for different reading levels, you should read about Fountas and Pinell. The lack of quality reading is not the issue here, there are so many other factors contributing to a child’s lack of interest in reading.

  5. Unknown

    Do you mean to say “Why Kids Don’t Read Printed Books?” ? For the very same reason that I’m commenting on a blogpost instead of joking over it after reading it in a newspaper.

    1. thehungryreader Post author

      Hmmm. Think about it “Unknown”. Kids do not read today. Printed books or otherwise. They do not read. At least in India. Not as much.

  6. Pallav

    My parents never forced me to read, nor the opposite too, like many parents do. But I turned out to be a reader. I think, it depends on the kid too.

  7. proudlyabsurd

    Well written, I completely agree with most of your argument. I must however take exception to your statement that kids aren’t reading because they don’t see their parents reading, personally I’m voracious and insatiable reader and neither of my parents read all that much. I do think that books exist somewhere outside the focus of society today. People today have been brainwashed into a kind of delirium in which imagination, atleast the kinds that one finds in books is frowned upon. Society readily labels those who read as being “nerds” or “dorks”, I faced much of the same in school and now in college. While I don’t condone parents who don’t inspire their kids to read it is also a case of “you can take a horse to the watering hole, but you can’t make it drink”. I perhaps wouldn’t have read as much if i hadn’t chanced upon friends who also devoured books much the same way as me. I applaud you on your crusade against those un-inclined towards books and thats a long uphill battle, I welcome you to join mine at http://otheruniverses.wordpress.com/
    P.S. looking forward to your next post.

  8. Siddharth Soni

    All flood isn’t drinking water.

    The thing is such phenomenon as reading isn’t as tangible as drinking water. So it takes a little while to sense what’s happening.

  9. Siddharth Soni

    I’ve tried commenting twice earlier. Gravatar is ridiculous. Twice the comments disappeared!

    Here, again!

    All flood isn’t drinking water. And the phenomenon of reading isn’t as tangible as water. Its impact doesn’t dawn so easily. Will take a while for people to sense…

  10. Dwky

    The best way to encourage kids to read is to give them time to be bored. No tv, no computers, video games, cellphones, ect. Just time around the house when they must amuse themselves in an environment where books are available that are at or a little above a comfortable reading level for the child. A child will “discover” books and a love of reading in an environment that isn’t jam packed with other options. Parents need to make that happen.


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