Hello, everyone! So, this is something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while now but I didn’t have a platform where I could express my opinion, but now that I have a book blog, I can! I’m a teen (I don’t know if I’d already mentioned that on my blog but if you are friends with me on Goodreads, you probably know because it’s in my bio lol) and I obviously love reading. For that reason, I’ve gotten many comments, such as:
- How do you read so much?
- Do you not get bored?
- All you do is read
- Reading is so boring, I don’t know how you do it
- Wow, I could never read like you do
I think you get it. And ever since I became an avid reader 4 years ago, I’ve wondered about something a lot: why do so many teens (and adults) dislike reading so much?
The conclusion I have come to is that the big culprit is the school system. Anyone who’s been a high schooler knows the dreaded moment when your teacher tells you you’re going to start analysing a new work of literature. As someone who is still in high school, I am unfortunately too familiarised with this. Which is ironic, right? Why does someone like me who spends so much of their free time consuming stories through books can dislike reading for school so much?
It all has to do with the fact that school forces you to read books that are not appropriate for most 14-18 years old. They’re novels written decades, if not centuries ago, with overly complex and old language, filled with metaphors and hidden meanings. To add to that, you’re forced to analyse and nitpick every other sentece which makes the reading experience even slower and more lackluster.
The worst part of it all is that even when you do get the chance to pick a book on your own, it usually has to belong to a certain list provided by the teacher or the school system. It’s incredibly frustrating.
Don’t get me wrong, books like Os Lusíadas or Amor de Perdição (acclaimed Portuguese classics) have their literary merit and they deserve to be read and explored, but classics shouldn’t be the only types of books being encouraged to read. Why not recommend teens books that are 1) diverse instead of ones that only feature white, cis, straight characers, 2) not filled with harmful stereotypes, racism and misogyny and 3) timely and that approach important topics from an informed perspective.
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Before I started reading for fun, I never had a hatred for books like many of my friends and classmates, but only when I made an effort and gave myself the freedom to explore all the different genres and stories out there, did I realise that reading was actually a very fun hobby, that made me feel both happy and fulfulled.
School is not only about learning, it’s also about instilling a love for learning in students. You can’t expect teens to like reading if you close them off to the many kinds of stories out there, including the ones that would, in fact, appeal to them. If you do, this mentality will continue to persist in their minds: books that are required reading are boring = all books are boring = I don’t want to read = I hate reading.
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It’s important to note that I’m not saying that reading is for everyone. Because it’s not. Just like sports aren’t for everyone or playing an instrument or any other hobby isn’t for everyone. What I am saying is that I know there are many, many people out there who have the potencial to love reading, but they don’t because school has unintentionally given this activity a negative connotation.
If for some reason you have stumbled upon this post and you are not already a bookworm, I urge you to please give reading a try. Even if you already have, think about it like watching movies, for example. Just because you watched a couple of movies and you didn’t like them, it doesn’t mean that all movies are bad, right? Well, it’s the same thing for books. There are so many different genres and stories in the world and a plethora of bookish content creators from whom you can get wonderful recommendations suited for your tastes (there are even online services, like this one, dedicated to giving you personalised book recommendations!), that it would be a shame if you gave up on reading that easily. Maybe it won’t become your favourite hobby, but at least it might become something that you do once in a while to change things up and take your mind off of social media.
What do you think about this topic? Do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments!
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