On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

Why are fewer teens reading?

Share story

Daily Circuit Friday Roundtable
.

A recent study from Common Sense Media shows that teens aren't reading for fun as often as they used to. Kerri Miller sits down to discuss the trend with author Carrie Mesrobian, publisher Andrew Karre and 15-year-old Atreya Madrone, a student at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists.    

Learn more about kids and reading:

• Teens don't read as much for fun as they once did
One study documented a drop in the number of children who read daily from childhood to the tween and teenage years. It showed that 48 percent of 6- to 8-year-olds to 24 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds were daily readers. According to another study, since 1984, the percent of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers went down from 70 to 53 percent. (Star Tribune)

• Are they distracted by the online world?
The studies do not say that kids are reading less because they're spending more time online. But [Jim] Steyer is convinced that's at least part of the answer.   "First of all, most children now have access to e-readers, or other smart electronic devices like phones and tablets," he says. "And they're spending time on that. Numerous reports show the increasing use of new technology platforms by kids. It just strikes me as extremely logical that that's a big factor." (KQED)

• Kids don't choose reading as a way to relax
Jamahri Sydnor and Chiamaka Anosike are ninth-graders waiting for the bus outside Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. How do they relax?   "I don't really read for pleasure," says Sydnor. "Generally I talk on the phone. Or I watch Netflix shows, or Hulu shows, mostly TV. That's it."   "I don't read for pleasure either, unless it's for a school assignment," says Anosike. "I'm usually on my phone or watching TV, too."   Of course, some students say they love to read but have too much homework — or are swamped with sports. (NPR)