With the Term 2 school holidays now upon us, we have had a lot of English teachers bringing their classes into the library so the boys can borrow a book for holiday reading. Many of our boys like reading although not always novels. They have to read a something in a narrative format so many borrow biographies. All sorts of biographies are popular but sporting biographies are the “best sellers”. This year we can hardly keep up with the demand for basketball biographies, followed by the soccer biographies and finally AFL ones. Basketball has not been very popular for a few years but interest in the NBA has really been evident across all year levels so far in 2013. Most students are quite happy to read, in whatever format they can get the item, although a few prefer hard copy and others love the e-books.
Our borrowing records and student comments prove time and time again that reading is not dead. All we need to do is to find the right interest/subject at the appropriate level and most are happy to read. They love sitting in the armchairs , feet up on the ottomans, especially when it is cold outside. We have teachers who read with their students and many parents who also read. It is always interesting when a student tells me that he is borrowing a book for himself and another for his mother or father. I love the fact that they are supporting each others reading.
I recently came across a post on the PewResearchCenter site that contained a great interactive graph. The data compared 2011 and 2012 data about American Reading habits. I do not think that an Australian survey would be all that different and it certainly ties in with what I witness here. The data shows that teenage readers (16-17) are reading more than they did the previous year.
Reading in “all formats” is up from the previous year. The darker column is 2012 data.
The data for reading print copy shows again more young people are reading than the previous year.
Reading e-books shows that they are increasingly reading in this format. The boys who borrow our kindles are finding that when they borrow the item they read the book they first wanted then start to read some of the other titles that are on it as they are of a similar theme. Often they find new authors this way and they are not swayed by the cover or the size, just the text.
Using Audiobooks to “read” books has also increased in popularity. We have audiobooks that some students use and a few have told me they occasionally listen to the Kindle Audio option. It makes me wonder if I need to do some research with our boys to find out if this is a format that they enjoy.