I saw a sidebar ad for the Vampire Diaries telelvision show. The ad said “You love the hit show…Now read the books by L.J Smith!”. I felt a bit sad when I saw that because it feels like teenagers (and adults as well) are watching television shows and movies instead of reading the books that they are based on. A study done by the National Endowment for the Arts showed that teens and young adults are reading less often as well as reading for smaller periods of time. The study is based on Americans only and said that America is behind Canada in it’s reading. A study done on Canadians ages 16 and up showed that they read more frequently than their American peers, however there isn’t any data for Canadians ages 12-15.
Some people say that having television shows and movies based on books encourages teens to read but I’m not so sure. Teenagers are incredibly busy- school, sports, clubs, sometimes a part time job- plus staying connected to their friends via Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, texting, etc. takes up a lot of their time as well. So what’s a time crunched teen going to pick- watch Whip It in 2 hours or read the book? DVR the Vampire Diaries so that you can watch it without the commercials or go pick up the books?
I’m not saying that teenagers should give up all television shows and movies but I do hope that in their busy lives they’re making some time to relax with a book.