The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

A Case for Non-Traditional Reading

Haley Mullins

Posted on June 18, 2021 16:54

5 users

It's time to ditch the one-size-fits-all model and let kids read what they want, how they want.

Another school year ends, and again I find my inbox full of parents asking for book recommendations that will get their kids to read this summer.  Being a middle school English teacher confirmed that the vast majority of kids are repulsed by the idea of picking up a book when it takes a matter of seconds and exactly two brain cells to start a game of Fortnite or an episode on Netflix, so I understand parents' frustration.

When I respond to these messages, I tailor my recommendations to the kid and what I know about their reading habits.  Parents are often surprised by my suggestions, especially when they involve graphic novels, audiobooks, or apps.

Traditionally, the term “reading” has been reserved for consuming text via print.  While I’m a print book junkie at heart (thanks mom!), I think it’s time we expand our definition of what it means to read so it more accurately reflects the technology and times in which we live.

The book industry has gone through a revolution over the last couple of decades due to rapid advances in technology.  This has brought about the birth and rise of ebooks, audiobooks, and podcasts as new and exciting forms of digital media.

The 1930s saw the first popular comic books, which have since inspired the graphic novel as well as digital comics now available at your fingertips on apps like Webtoon.

With all of these new ways to consume stories and information, why do so many of us still exclude these channels from our definition of what it means to read?  Why do we deter our children from exploring these avenues and demand that they read a “book” instead?

No doubt, the elitism embedded in our history plays a major role in our attitude today.  Centuries of reading being exclusive to the education of rich white men seeps into our collective subconscious, making it an impulse to disregard our modern, alternative reading methods as second-rate.  After all, it hasn’t been that long since women and people of color were denied access to education (some argue this issue isn’t entirely resolved).

We read for a variety of purposes, all of which share the common goal of immersing oneself in words.  Keeping this in mind, we are reminded that there are many roads that lead to Rome, and even if we all choose the same path our personal journey is unique.  Who’s to say then that your audiobook journey through a story is less valuable than my print journey?  If you like to read graphic novels, who am I to belittle your experience by saying that’s “not really reading”?

Technology and innovation have made text more accessible to people with different abilities, learning styles, and personal tastes. So if you truly want your kid to read, consider giving them something that reflects who they are and what engages them.  It's time to ditch the one-size-fits-all model and let kids read what they want, how they want.

Haley Mullins

Posted on June 18, 2021 16:54

Comments

comments powered by Disqus

A Wisconsin author is hoping to help out parent teaching at home right now through reading.

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest