The Crisis


Nia Ramsey, Staff Writer

This is a crisis.

Forgotten, neglected; their beauty is torn up and tossed into oblivion. Not by one person. Not by two. But by our entire society.

Yes, books, books, lovely, lovely books, are frequently becoming as obsolete in our lives as the newspaper. That is to say; people are not reading them like they use to. Sure, books are still produced and books still sell and tell, and yet, they still are not being valued and respected like they once were. Such mindset engraves itself in uneasy prevalence among all ages, however, it itches the worry best when looking upon the adolescent age group.

A recent study by Common Sense Media has reported through a collection of studies from Scholastic and NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) that the number of teenagers reading for pleasure and entertainment has drastically fallen into a deep recession. Throughout the years, the number has dropped to only 24% of 15-17 year olds exhibiting an interest in reading.

This is a crisis.

Consequently, the amount of teenagers who read once a week or longer has declined by a staggering 64% to 40% among 13-17 year olds. (NCES, 2013 report)

What matters is not the fact that they are not reading for pleasure; that is a choice, but that basic comprehension and achievement in writing and language skills are transforming into deplorable displays. When these teens get older, they will be at an extreme disadvantage and will not know how to communicate in the workforce. Some of the most crucial things that teenagers who are not reading books will lack are how to explain, analyze, and understand.

Cause with this lies within the overwhelming amount of technology and forms of entertainment that enforces the lives youth live. There exists not one adolescent soul on this planet who has encountered transcendence beyond the electronic temptations of our wired society that we so built ourselves for this today and tomorrow and the tomorrow twenty years from today.

For example, the smartphone has installed itself quickly into our daily routine that now, instead of sitting back in our nice, comfy spot and letting words paint a picture for our once curious minds, we gather the almost -exact  picture by clicking on the Netflix app to watch people or animation portray these stories for us.

This is a crisis.

While movies and televisions shows have their unique creativity and voice, no matter what book it is based off of, it will never ever, be the same story. Things that a book does and feeds a person’s mind will always be different because it takes a different approach of nurturing the mind. If we continue to allow teeenagers to ignore reading, then, it is our fault above all us for when they are unable to think outside-the-box, so to speak.

Another fault we have brought to life is the emphasis of who should be reading what. What we say: girls like reading more than guys. What is not true: girls like reading more than guys. What is true: girls like reading more than guys because that is what we said first. For teenagers, 18% of boys are daily readers, while girls are 30% (Scholastic, 2013).This type of enforcement of gender stereotypes does not help the decreasing percent of how many of our teens are reading. Is our purpose to become a nation of illiterate fools rolling in the ashes of our glory? Would we even know how to read this very article in the future if we ban the education of the books?

This is a crisis.

We can change before it is too late. We can start a new revolution, one to protect our injured books. Or perhaps, a revival of words, an enlightenment of thought and creativity. To do this, we must go forth into the world and preach the beauty of our books, of our stories, and the value to what we can learn from them. Let us not just put it into consideration, but into heart, to put down our electronics for at least thirty minutes of our day and read. It can be anything. Just read.

This was a crisis.