The other weekend, my 10-year-old daughter accompanied me to the grocery store. The girl loves to read. Often, she brings a book with her on errands.
As my daughter wheeled the cart around the store after me, she also read her book (she takes after her mother in the multi-tasking department). A father stopped me and said, “You should write a book about how to get your kids to read while they help you instead of just look at a digital screen.” (Of course, this gentleman had no idea I was an author). I thanked him for the compliment.
As we left the store, my daughter said, “Mom, are you going to write that book?” My response to her was that many parenting books have already been written and that getting children to read rather than play with digital devices is part of a parent’s job.
I truly don’t think a book would help the issue.
A recent study in the UK by the National Literacy Trust showed that three in 10 British children live in households that do not contain a single book. An additional one in 10 children live in homes with 10 or fewer books. On the other hand, 85% or 17 out of 20 children owned a game console and 81% (basically eight out of 10) have a mobile phone.
I am sure the statistics for the United States are similar.
The problem is many people don’t value books. I can count on one hand the number of times my children have received a book as a birthday present at one of their birthday parties. When I attend baby showers, rarely does anyone give the expectant mother books for her baby. I love to give books at baby showers. After all, my husband and I created Baby Bible Board Books to teach the youngest hearts about Jesus.
I don’t believe that digital books are helping children read more. Thus far the research indicates that people who already value and read books are the ones using e-readers to read; they are simply switching mediums.
The love of reading must be taught. Playing video games is easier on the brain than reading. We are creatures of comfort. We will choose the easy road over the hard one, given the choice. Children are no different. Parents must step up to the plate and create an atmosphere in their homes that values reading. If this does not happen, I fear for the future of our nation.