Generations reading fewer books


People in the younger generation have been reading less and less causing a deficiency in all the benefits reading gives to people.

Katrina Hung and Janell Gui

We’ve all been exposed to some form of storytelling, and naturally, with the word “story,” storybook comes to mind. With less and less readers, some may wonder if technology’s advancement is plaguing a generation’s ability to appreciate prose. Yet, despite concerns, there is real-world proof that technology does not lessen the value of storytelling and storybooks alike.

Recently, less and less people have been reading. Whether it’s because of a busy schedule or simply the existence of a better alternative, it all eventually leads back to our phones. The internet is not only essential to us but also extremely accessible. With so many digital alternatives, reading for entertainment has become less and less of a regularity.

A study done by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) shows that reading habits in both kids and adults have significantly declined since 1984. With only hours or even minutes of spare time, the obvious choice is to go on your phone. Less than half of the adult population state that they read for fun, while younger people read even less because of their increased exposure to technology.

“I used to love reading, but with so much homework I don’t have as much time for it anymore,” said freshman Alice Ye of Holmdel.

However, our easy access to the internet arguably allows for more people than ever before to read with access to online resources and libraries. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have found themselves delving into new hobbies that they didn’t even consider before, including reading. In place of libraries, people now have easy access to books through free PDFs or e-book programs such as Kindle or MackinVIA. More people are able to release and receive feedback on their works, and it just goes to show that, even with the decline of reading, literature as an art is not lost. 

CHS’s very own book club, which has recently manifested into the school, is living proof of this. It shows that there are people who still love books – enough so that they would gather around and talk about them. 

Reading also allows readers to seek comfort through escapism, especially in an age where teenagers are affected more and more by mental illness such as anxiety and depression. Dr. Shafquat Towheed from The History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) Research Collaboration, English & Creative Writing says, “The ability of books to mentally transport their readers away from the problems and challenges of everyday life is well established.” 

Something interesting to note is that technology’s stigma is similar to that of books in previous times. Athenian philosopher Socrates refused to write altogether and was worried about the increased use of books in education, as he feared they would negatively affect the student’s skills of recollection. This goes to show that even the seemingly greatest minds can unreasonably fear the unfamiliar.

The amount of people reading may still be declining, yet, over the centuries, there’s a reason why it’s secured its spot as one of the most beloved forms of entertainment today, no matter what kind people partake in.