Reading Culture Waning Among Teens


Nicole Kennedy and Erika Riedel

The internet plays a huge role in modern American schools. Campus courses use websites, apps, and devices nearly every day. Meanwhile, use of physical books for guidance, information, and enjoyment is fading away.

While the Campolindo library is frequented by up to 650 students a day, most kids who enter the library are not there to check out their favorite Harry Potter novel.

According to sophomore Katie Stephens, she only goes to the library to print out homework she forgot to do at home or to seek warmth during chilly mornings. “I haven’t checked out a book since elementary school,” she said.

Stephens isn’t alone.

According to librarian Sarah Morgan, the sensors that keep track of the number of people that enter and exit the entrance of the library daily shows that only 4% checking out a book.

This wasn’t always the case. When she was an elementary school librarian, Morgan said the experience was different. Each elementary student would take home at least 1 book per week from the library.

“[In elementary school] kids would scramble for the next book in the series. Kids would also put books on hold. Now at Campo students occasionally do that but that is probably only 1 or 2 times a year,” said Morgan.

Morgan thinks that the busy schedule of Moraga teens may be responsible for the decrease in reading culture because kids “don’t have much time” to read. Technology, she said, also distracts kids from finishing any book that they do check out.

According to The Washington Post, the amount of Americans who read for fun has fallen more than 30% since 2004 and continues to drop today. This may be attributed to the 89% of Americans that now depend on the internet for information, the Pew Research Center found, as opposed to the information in books.

“I would rather watch T.V. than read a book any day,” said sophomore Olivia Knutson. “I rarely have free time and reading takes too much concentration.”

Morgan said she wished more students would try to take the time to appreciate books. “Free reading choice also helps kids feel like they are in control of their lives because sometimes preteens feel like they are being bossed around and that they don’t have any choice. A library should be a place where you can do anything.”