Do we underestimate the reading habits of kids?

“That’s too long.  Kids won’t read that.”

How many times have we thought, said, or heard that statement?  It’s easy to slip into the mindset that kids and even teenagers have short attention spans in this digital, instant gratification, cloud driven world.  With all of the portable technology available, it’s easy to see how you would make that assumption.  But… is it true?

A blog post about the book Steve Jobs asked the question “What teen is going to sit down and read a 656-page biography?”  As she goes on to tell us…lots of them do.  This got me thinking.  Are we wrong? 

Look at some of the titles being read by kids and teens.  Besides the Steve Jobs book weighing in at 656 pages, the smallest book in the Twilight series clocked in at just fewer than 500 pages.  The rest of them were bigger.  The books in the Harry Potter series regularly topped the 500 page mark.  The Hunger Games trilogy when read all together exceeds 1,100 pages.

Watch a younger child when a series catches their imagination.  They will devour page after page in that series.  Currently there are six books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.  All together that is just shy of 1,300 pages.  Do you know kids who have read them all?  I do.  And that’s just one.  Think of all of the readers going through every Goosebumps book!

When thinking of a book to suggest to kids or teenagers, don’t underestimate them by not offering a book just because of its size or the length of the series.  Yes, they may reject it…but you may be surprised when they flip it over to read the back and decide for themselves.

But that’s just what I think.  Now it’s your turn!  Have you noticed your kids, students, or patrons reading long books?  What are they reading or what have you suggested?

0 thoughts on “Do we underestimate the reading habits of kids?”

  1. I am the mother of four and the grandmother of sixteen children (my grandchildren range in age from 10 years to 18 months of age). The one thing I never do is under estimate them, either generation.

    Reading is something that I stressed with my children and with the two oldest this was hard as they had learning dissabilities. My oldest wouldn’t touch a book he was not rquired to for school if his life depended on it until an 11th grade teacher assigned him to read “The Good Earth” then suddenly he could not stop reading. I read it to see what lit the fire in him but it held no specail charm for me. He is 32 now and is still an avid reader as well as encourging his children to read. For my daughter it was a book by Dr. Young on abnormal psychology. Also read that to see what was so interesting to a 15 year old but to me it was as dry as dust, but it opened the door to her love of books that continuees to this day.

    My grandson who is 10 had a very hard time learning to read and he said he hated how reading made him feel. The Wimpy Kid series started him on fire and now he is half way through the Harry Potter series. Rather remarkable as the school said he was at least a year and a half behind in his reading levels when he caught fire and they now say he is the same amount ahead all over the last 11 months.

    For one granddaughter it has been the Dorky Kid books that started her and she is now reading the Twilight series (she is 9). A grandson addicted to the Magic Treehouse books and reads one every day, thankfully there are so many that he can do this for a few months before he is in repeats (he is 7). Another grandson who the school had pretty much given up on (he was married into our family at 7 and is now 9) so I found some Goosebumps and sent them to him and this sparked his interest to the point I send him new books for every grade B and above on his weekly reports and the post office is quite busy. He, by the way, has been begging me to send him the orignial Frankenstien and as soon as I can convince his parents it won’t warp him I will.

    Books to long of kids? Short attention spans? Consider this how long does it take a kid to work through all the levels of a video game? I have seen kids spend hours and days trying to do this. Their attention spans are not short we just have to find the right fuel to light their fires to burn bright enough to catch their attention. If we can it will burn a very long time.

    From a grndmother who happily spends too much money at bookstores,
    Loretta Scheschy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s