Kids hate reading

The Plight of the Accidental Tourist

by Nikki Tranter

8 May 2008

 

At least once a week in the video store, a high school kid will ask me this question:

“Have you got The Accidental Tourist?”

It’s gotten so that I sigh as I tell them we don’t. “But I can get it for you,” I say. “It’ll take a week.”

“No,” they say, sprightly and carefree. “I need it for an exam tomorrow.”

Ooh. I wonder if they can actually hear my soul snapping in two?

And then they ask for phone credit.

If it’s not The Accidental Tourist, it’s Of Mice and Men or To Kill a Mockingbird or I’m Not Scared. And it’s not all high school kids—a university student asked me for Tom and Viv a few weeks back and outright admitted she “couldn’t be bothered reading it”. That’s the same excuse I got from one of my own employees who wanted a copy of The 39 Steps. He didn’t want to read the screenplay, which was required at his school prior to viewing an updated version of the stage show.

It happens all the time. So, I was moved ever so slightly today when I saw this article. According to a study, kids somewhere in the world do actually enjoy reading. Dr. Seuss, it would seem, is the most popular choice among young readers. 

I guess that means I don’t have to fear a first-grader coming up to me and asking for the DVD of Horton Hears a Who!, because he just can’t be bothered ... well, you know.

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