Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What I Learned About Teen Readers

Dude, so I met several librarians while I was in New York City last week. I love talking with book people. They really get things, and I enjoyed learning from them.

Biggest thing I learned: Teens have very little time to read for enjoyment. I'll admit, I was sort of shocked by this. But the librarians said that teens have so much required reading for school, that they don't have much time for recreational reading.

This surprised me, though it feels true inside. I mean, there are a lot of YA books out there. It seems to be a happening market. So to hear an industry person say that teens aren't actually reading for fun made me stop and think: Then who's reading all the YA novels that are being published?

So I ask you: Who's reading all the YA novels that are being published? And do you think it's true that teens are overburdened with required reading for school that they don't have time to read for fun?

82 comments:

LM Preston said...

My middle school daughter and her friends eat up YA books. So do I and other friends of mine. However, there are teen readers that read for enjoyment, but I find most of the ones that I sell my books to during my book signings are between 6 and 8th grade.

Mary said...

I do agree that teens have a ton of required reading, as well as extra-curricular activities and even jobs so there isn't much extra time in a high school student's life for reading for enjoyment. (Middle schoolers may have a little more time, but not much.)

That being said, if they love reading, they'll find the time. I know when I was in high school, I found the time to read even though I had both a job and a year-round activity that took up a ton of time.

Actually, there are a TON of adults who love YA. This genre's fun, young, and usually quick reads, which fits into a busy lifestyle. Plus, it reminds us non-teens of our youth and all those firsts!

Gina said...

Seventeen year olds trapped in thirty-year old bodies like me! I love YA literature. Every now and then I'll read adult literature, but it just reminds me how old I am! I love the innocence of YA, the discovery, the falling in love for the first time... siiighh

Rachel Morgan said...

Hmm... perhaps it's people just like me! Twenties, have left school, at varsity or working so we don't have much homework (and required reading) to take up all our spare time :-)

Being a high school teacher I know that for the girls at the boarding school where I teach, MOST of their time is taken up doing some school-related activity (lessons, extra-murals, campus-care duties, meals, study time) so I think what those librarians say actually makes a lot of sense...

Ok, so let's hope our novels become "required reading"!

Natalie Aguirre said...

As my daughter gets ready for starting 9th grade and high school next year, I have to agree that they have little time. When she's on the swim team through the middle of November and taking two AP classes, she's going to be working all the time except for maybe a half hour a day to watch TV or be on the computer. And I think that's the same for lots of teens who would be the ones to read. And don't forget they want to and need to sleep super late on the weekends.

I do think there are some teens who love to read so much that they'll read extra. But they are rare. I think a lot of book bloggers and us authors are the ones reading YA. And I'm going to start an Ask the Expert series next month on my blog where I interview kids between 6th-12th grade to ask them questions like you raise.

Em-Musing said...

I've read several YA series. When I asked the YA's I know if they read them, they said, no. So I think the librarians have a point.

mooderino said...

Interesting post. I certainly don't think boys read YA, i jumped straight from kids books to adult.

Young girls and old girls (you know who you are) I think are the main audience and the reasons for them are the same as for romance novels, escapism and wish fulfillment. Boys have other, erm, outlets.

I think the girls who do read them read a lot of them and quickly, so the market is big (same as romance novels) but the respect for these books is low (same as romance novels).

This is ofc ourse all guess work.

regards,
mood
Moody Writing

Trisha Wolfe said...

My mom and I suck them down lol. She's 54 and reads at least 3 a week. I only talk with a couple of teen book bloggers that I know who reads them on a regular basis. And my 13 year old son is loaded down with homework, so it's true he rarely reads for enjoyment. And not to be sexist here, but I believe there are more girl teen readers than boys. My son rarely finds a book that interests him enough to skip going to the skate park. Sad, but true.

Fi-chan (Bookish-Escape) said...

True that! For me, I had more free time in high school. Now in college, I don't have time sigh.

Ted Cross said...

My two sons are 11 and 13 and both tend to read more adult books than YA. They mix it up a bit, but YA is pretty small on their reading lists other than Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL It's all us wannabe YA writers who are buying the books. ;)

My teenage niece reads a lot. The last I heard, she has over 200 novels (many of them YA). Not sure where she keeps them all (or where she gets the money from). I just know she doens't believe in the public library. Too bad she lives on the other side of Canada and not in my city. :P

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

Amen, Stina! Haha, I'm raising my hand as I read your post, Elana. I am a major YA fan. I was recently in a Borders book store and my husband had a good laugh that it was me and what had to be about a 12 year-old girl in the YA section. I'm sad it took me so long to find YA, but now that I have, I can't imagine reading anything else.

It's true that with so much assigned reading, I hear teens say they don't have enough time to select their own books. It's sad that teens aren't given more autonomy to choose books for enjoyment. They're missing out on contemporary reads that exemplify fabulous writing and craft.

Great post!
Marissa

Jodi Meadows said...

In my school, we had dedicated reading time before or after lunch. Everyone was supposed to be quiet for 30 minutes and read.

In other schools, we also had reading programs where you could read books for points and prizes at certain levels. This was all through my school years in several different schools and districts. Maybe it was just Texas?

Theresa Milstein said...

They don't have a lot of time to read, but they do squeeze it in. In the schools I've been in, ELA teachers request they read 30 minutes a night. They're expected to discuss and/or write about them. After a test. all teachers tell them to pull out the books they're currently reading. Walking around the high school, I see teens on staircases, in corners, and even on benches outside reading.

From what I can tell, teen readers are still reading.

Michael Di Gesu said...

I believe it. I remember I didn't have much free time to read for enjoyment in H.S or College. It is the obsessed adult market who are reading y/a these days.

It might have to do with all of us trying to recapture our youth .... lol No seriously.

Michelle McLean said...

well judging by my TBR pile, I'd say it's adults reading the YAs LOL

Jamie Manning said...

I actually think that's both true and untrue.
It's true for the students who don't really enjoy reading--they read what's required and nothing more.

But I think it's untrue for teens who would rather read than do anything else (like all of us were I'm sure)--no matter the list of required books, they will ALWAYS find time to read for pleasure!

Oh yeah...
POSSESSION RULZ!!

Izzy G. said...

I'm a teen reader, and I go to an extremely rigorous school where I have about 3-4 hours of homework and studying a night, but I still find time to read. I've read about 80 books so far in 2011, including required reading. If you really want to read, you'll always be able to find some time, somewhere.

lauraabest said...

My novel is historical YA and I know for a fact that many "older" adults have read it. They are usually the people I hear most from. Set in the forties, they feel they can relate to it very easily.

Kari Marie said...

I have been wondering about this for a while now. I hear about books that are great and when I ask around, the kids aren't reading them.

Fascinating topic. I would tend to agree. I read a lot of teen books in middle school and junior high. When I got to high school I only read in the summer. No time otherwise.

Cat said...

Well, first, I do know a ton of adults that read mainly YA, or at least some. I mean, look at the YA book blogging community. Some of the most popular blogs are run by adults, in their 20s and 30s. There are probably other readers like them that don't run blogs, so that's probably part of it.

I agree, with the required reading thing. I'm homeschooled, so I actually have more time than the average student, but only SOMETIMES. I'm able to get most of my schoolwork done quicker but then I have more then some students do. I have a lot of required reading for literature classes especially, so there are certain times of the year, especially depending on the book we're reading, that I have very little 'extra' time in the day for pleasure reading.

I get most of my reading done while I'm in the car, or at night when I probably should be sleeping but I tend to get absorbed in books, and so I don't always, in waiting rooms, and in any spare time that I can find. I can safely say the same for a lot of my friends.

But what I'm trying to say here is that there are a lot of students who don't enjoy reading and they let their required reading be all there is. The teens that truly enjoy reading, such as myself and many others I know, will always make time to read for pleasure; whether it's making the choice to read for an hour rather than watching tv, or to read instead of playing video games, they do.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I remember reading a lot when I was a teen (then again, I wasn't doing my homework like I should've), but I wasn't reading YA. As a kid, I wanted to read books written for adults. Now that I'm an adult, I read loads of YA and MG. Maybe I'm making up for lost time.

Lindsay said...

I see a lot of teens buying YA books in bookstores, but I think they tend to read them over school holidays (or that's what my cousin told me). I know I was always swamped with reading for English at school, which left little time for reading for pleasure. I'm making up for it now though. lol.

But I think if you enjoy reading, you'll find the time to read a book for fun. :)

Chelsey said...

I think the ones who want to will read regardless. I know I did. My theater teacher used to joke that maybe, one day, I would no longer find time to read for fun. Like in grad school.


So far, she is incorrect.

Liza said...

I think a lot of kids are too overscheduled/overburdened and as a result, are too tired to read. Guess I was happy to be an under achiever and read my little self silly.

kellyhashway said...

I think a lot of adults are reading YA. I'm in the library and bookstore every week and I see more adults than teens in the YA section. I do think that avid teen readers are making time to read for fun. I read a lot in high school. Plus there's always summer break.

Kristi Helvig said...

I had 3-4 hours of homework every night in grade school and high school, and I still made time to read. I also know teen girls who are active readers. But I think if someone isn't inclined to read, they're not going to make the time...sort of like exercising. e.g. I'm great at saying I don't have time to exercise, but I also don't love it...if that makes sense. Interesting post. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

I don't know about that. Maybe it's because of where I live, which is one of the worst states in the union for public education, but my ninth grader has only been assigned maybe three or four books this (school) year. She's probably read at least 25 for enjoyment in that same time.

But I suppose my kid is unique.

Lydia Sharp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia Sharp said...

Okay, let's try this again. (ergh, blogger. ergh)

I can only speak from my own experience, and my teen years happened before the hugeness of the Internet and cell phones took over, aka before we had even more distractions from books.

As a kid I *lived* at my library... until I got to high school.

I did most of my reading before high school because once I was there, I had nothing but schoolwork, and the last thing I wanted to do on my summer breaks was crack open another book, even for fun. It just didn't happen.

As an adult, I love it. We've lived through it once already, so we understand it. And as a *busy* adult, I like that I can read through full novels quickly. An adult novel takes me more than twice as long to read as a YA novel does.

I do read adult fiction, but the bulk of my reading is YA. It just feels more like entertainment to me. And it's more satisfying to be able to finish a book in a day or two.

And I think, too, that a lot of pre-teens/tweens read YA. I know I did-- I read the entire Sweet Valley High series when I was between the ages of 10 and 12. I even read the BIG FAT spin-off books during family vacations.

So yeah, it's odd to think that we are writing "fiction for teens" when it seems like the majority who are reading it aren't really teens.

I'm sure there are teens out there who read, though. I see them at the library and bookstores browsing the shelves. And often, at the bookstores especially, they have a friend with them and they recommend what books they think their friend should read.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i don't think that's true at all. I was in highschool not that long ago, and had a job, AP classes and was in orchestra and still read prolifically, as did all my friends. My little sister, who just graduated, had more school activities than anyone i've ever known and she still put away a healthy amount of books.
The only time i've ever known readers to stop reading is my friends in doctorate programs. Readers always find time to read, no matter the age

Jonathon Arntson said...

I've been observing a teacher at a local high school who has two sophomore and one senior English classes. And those kids have so much to do for her class, let alone their other classes, that it's no wonder they have little time to read for pleasure. And that time seems to be allocated to other things.

I was realizing it'll be one of my responsibilities as a high school English teacher to give them time to read for pleasure. Screw the contract reading BS, I want them to see what 25 pages a day from a book they really chose feels like.

Gabriela Pereira said...

Fascinating question!

I definitely remember being too busy with school stuff as a teen to read much for fun. I did most of my reading on vacation. Summer was a big reading time for me. Which makes me wonder, why are so many teen lit books released in time for "Back to School"? Wouldn't it be better to release those books before vacation so teens can actually read them?

Actually, I read more teen lit now as an adult than I ever did as a teen, but then again, when I was a teen the YA stuff was mostly sweet-valley-high-style books (meh) and we didn't have as much great, edgy and dark teen literature that's around now.

Your question made me think of something: if teens are reading so much for school that they don't have time for reading actual books for teens, then we have no choice but to find a way to get more teen lit into the curriculum. :D Question is, how?

Ideas anyone?

Jessi said...

I think this is true to an extent, but the last school I worked at, where I was a middle school librarian had a really active culture of reading (Yeah, I realize it sounds kind of cheesy put that way, but it's true.) That was due in large part to the fact that we used Accelerated Reader (a program with over 100,000 comprehension quizzes on any almost book you could imagine), and recreational reading was worth 20% of the kids' English grades! Classes came to the library every 2 weeks and everyone had to have a book on them at all times. So they had to read for school, but they got to choose what to read, which was genius!

Taryn Albright said...

I know I'm an exception, but here's my story:

I'm an 18 y/o student taking a full class load and maintaining a 3.9. I swim more than 20 hours a week, cycle another 10 hours, and I've written 3 60K+ manuscripts this school year. Every month I have read at least 20 books for fun. While I am a fast reader, I also believe that a lot of "kids these days" don't know how to manage their time.

Tom M Franklin said...

i was told the same thing when i was getting my MLS. this is why, i was told, a larger part of a school's library budget in middle and high schools go to magazines -- they require less of a commitment in terms of reading time and are, therefore, more popular.

from my experience, this is true of a certain segment of the YA age group, but not everyone. there are plenty of teens who read voraciously. (i was certainly one) the trick is to reach out to them and show them how valued they are.


-- Tom

Christine Fonseca said...

I can tell you from personal experience that the Teens I hang out with are all avid readers - it is their stress relief. I also think, based on the shear number of teens attending book signings I go to that teens are still doing a lot of reading...TONS even. But the YA market has always appealed to adults as well. So yea - I guess I think BOTH teens and adults read YA.

Melody Valadez said...

I don't think they have as much time as MG readers, but those who like to read will always read! High school most likely starts an unfortunate weeding out process of those who really enjoy reading and those who once liked to read but now can't stand it. :/ But I think teens have as much free reading time as their adult counterparts...and there are plenty of adult books. The market is not dying, don't worry! :)

Kerri Cuev said...

I often thought of this also. I know when I was that age I had zero time to rec read. Between sports, work, cars, friends, and oh yes school work ugh. Regular homework plus a reading assignment is daunting. I think we overwork teens and we wonder why they are stressed out by school.

Good subject!

Laura Marcella said...

I don't really think that's true. In high school I wasn't overburdened with reading, but in college I was. Whoa so much reading for class! But I always MADE time to read for pleasure, even if it was just a chapter before bed. I think 21st century kids are just too distracted by technology. Facebook, YouTube, video games, and cell phones are more enticing these days.

A lot of adults read YA so I'm sure that's who is buying YA books!

Aaron Polson said...

The students at my school devour books. We "required" SSR (sustained silent reading) about ten years ago, but now they demand reading time.

Awesome, really.

Amie B said...

I think this is a half truth. My eldest daughter is technically a young adult reader and she reads for pleasure all the time. Granted her GR English class requires 75 AR points per term and she makes sure those are books she enjoys so its dusk purpose.

Stephanie McGee said...

Going from my own experience, if they're good students (meaning they do the assigned and required readings), then they have less time for pleasure reading. If they're exceptionally intelligent students they may or may not have even less time, if they're in AP classes or what have you.

If they're like me, they're reading for pleasure until the last possible day and then they plow through the required reading as fast as they can so they can get back to the stuff they want to read.

Stephanie McGee said...

Going from my own experience, if they're good students (meaning they do the assigned and required readings), then they have less time for pleasure reading. If they're exceptionally intelligent students they may or may not have even less time, if they're in AP classes or what have you.

If they're like me, they're reading for pleasure until the last possible day and then they plow through the required reading as fast as they can so they can get back to the stuff they want to read.

ikmar said...

I disagree too. Even if the school year is busier, there is still the summer. I wish I could remember the book I read about teens reading more than previous generations but so much of it is blogs, tweets, etc. that pleasure reading falls by the wayside.

From http://www.ourlittlebooks.com/blog/2010/3/9/is-reading-for-pleasure-on-the-decline-in-teens.html

"..less then one-third of 13-year olds are daily readers, a fourteen percent decline from twenty years earlier. Among 17-year olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled ... from nine percent in 1984 to eighteen percent in 2004. ...Americans ages 15-24 spend almost two hours a day watching television, and only seven minutes ..leisure...reading"

Maybe we should start promoting articles like this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/8435031/Reading-as-teenager-gets-you-a-better-job.html

:)

Pam Torres said...

My experience with teens is they find time to do what they really want to do and if that is read they'll do it. I do think because of the pressure and busy schedules they need something that gets right down to business, jumps right in and whisks them away. Most schools require "recreational reading time" during certain classes and after school. Reading for recreation uses different brain muscles than reading for assignments, an important part of their development.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've heard a lot of adults read them.

ashelynn sanford said...

I disagree with this statement. Teens do have time to read; I think it's more of a matter if they like to read or not.

I'm in college now, but two years ago when I was in high school I read a lot. It didn't matter if I had a ton of reading to do, I would read before bed or while I was eating or any free minutes that I could open a book and read.

I still do that now, and I have a lot of reading to do for college.

When I read your post my first thought was, "Teens don't have time to read? What?" I was seriously confused because I (being a young adult and barely not a teen) do have time to read.

I really think it's just because some teens don't like to read, so they won't.

Plus, a sweet sixteen-year-old girl I know loves to read and I give her four or five books a week. And every time she comes back for new books, she tells me how much she loved/didn't love the books she read that week. She reads a lot, and she's what, a sophomore in high school?

She has the time to read. Teens do have time to read, they just chose not to.

Michelle Merrill said...

I think teens who really love to read will read. That said, I do think tees are overburdened with their required reading. When a teen with potential to love reading has free time they probably want to do anything but read. Like hang out with their friends, go to the mall, watch a movie. I was totally that way. Why would I want to read another book if I could barely get through the ones I had at school? It's kind of sad really. Like I said though, the kids who love reading will find time. My sister loved reading and read a ton.

I think a lot of teens catch up during the summer. I know a few who don't have time during the school year but then tear through book after book during the summer.

And everyone else who's reading those books are us adults. It's awesome.

Sorry for the ramble. I hope some of that made sense.

Eliza Bryan said...

Hi Elena!

I have to agree that much of the young adult novels out there are being read by us adults. I read for an escape. I go into my own little world when I read and so I don't want to be reading to much that is real/heavy. Fantasy and Fiction is, to me, my happy place, haha... if that make sense. So I tend to turn to the YA and sometimes even younger books.

As for teens... I was one who didn't like reading when I was a teenager. I attribute that to the forced reading of books in school that I really wasn't interested in... book reports, projects and the like were just more things I had to do so reading became a to do list and not a for fun thing. I think I remember one book that I actually enjoyed reading. But, most of the others like Grapes of Wrath, or Great Expectations were just misery for me. Partly because I "had" to read it, and partly because it was just such heavy and serious content. Anyway... Hope my ramblings made sense. Can't wait for Possesion!

Patti said...

I know with my kids they do a lot of reading for school, that when it comes to free time they want to do something else. It's too bad they don't let kids read more current stuff.

I also think that adults are reading more YA.

Patricia A. Timms said...

While I've been an avid reader my whole life and always found a way to fit extracuricular reading into my schedule I know that your post is true. My third grade daughter doesn't share the same love for reading that I have. Even then, she's tied to the AR reading program and that means she's relying mostly on the school library and not all the fun stuff at the book store.
I think the majority of sales in YA are college age and older or junior high and younger. Yes, younger. I see 6th graders reading books from the YA section. Think about it, Hunger Games was approved for 6th graders to read in class. Hmmm. Great post! Lots to think about in terms of content for target audiences. Haha!

Jo Schaffer said...

Jr. High students, college students and moms. (=

I'm surprised there are not more books that target college age instead of high school...it's a waiting market.

Sarah Allen said...

My college roommates read YA all the time :) Not that we have much more time then teens. I think people find time if they really want to read.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Amber Argyle said...

I didn't read for fun during school because I was so overdone with reading.

I more than made up for it in the summers. And I still devour YA, though I'm 30. *gasp*

Elana Johnson said...

Holy excellent comments, Batman! I agree with a lot of you that it comes down to personal choice. The exercise comment killed me. Ha!

I will say that the librarian I spoke to said she was thrilled my book didn't have explicit sexual content because then she can recommend it to her 11-15-year-old crowd of kids. And my book has been rated 14 and up by S&S.

That was fascinating to me. Maybe I'll blog about it, because really, how many of you will come back and read this comment? ;)

Stephsco said...

I think younger teens might have more time; being too young to have a job, no driving privaledges. I know I read zillions of books from age 11-14 but I slowed down the next few years, even fewer fun books read in college, until that bright light at the end of the tunnel post-college. Younger teens are reading the books slated for older teens, too.

Some kids are born readers and will read no matter what. That's encouraging. I think the market to tap into is those who DON'T read, and making a variety of books accessible to them.

Also, Elana: Congrats on the PW email blast about POSSESSION!

Valerie Ipson said...

I think tons of adults read YA. That's where I hear all the recommendations from and then I pass them on to my kids.

Stacy Henrie said...

I think adults are reading them. Not sure when that trend started, but it seems like way more adults are diggin' YA books than in years past. We've done more the last few years in book club, too.

Marsha Sigman said...

I think a lot of adults are reading them but I also do not believe teens are too busy to read.

I know teens, and the required reading for school usually takes a back burner to what they actually want to read.

Emily said...

I sometimes read YA novels and I'm not a teen anymore. Also, my sister is in high school and is super busy. But she loves to read so whenever she gets a chance she checks out a book (usually YA, sometimes not).

Michelle Walkenhorst said...

I mostly read YA novels. They're quick, easy, and entertaining without any explicit language or smut or an unappealing darkness that I sometimes encounter in adult novels.

I had loads of required reading in high school, but always made time to read for enjoyment.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

My high school students LOVE recreational reading. I see them with books all the time! Our middle school even requires every student to bring a just-for-fun book to every class. :-)

Krispy said...

I think it's partly true, and of course it will depend on the teen and curriculum. Most of the reading I did in high school (which wasn't THAT long ago, but gettin' long, eep!) was for class. We did have required "silent reading" time during the day, and sometimes that's when I'd read my own/leisure book, but usually I'd use that time to do my assigned reading. On the other hand, a few of my English classes required/encouraged outside reading in that we'd have to earn a certain amount of extra points on the side before the end of the year and the easiest way to do that was doing verbal book reports with the teacher. I mean, I did manage to read a bunch of the Harry Potter books and a few YA series during high school.

I know in college though, I never read anything for leisure. I was too swamped by required reading to do much else after but veg out. So I've been on a fun!reading frenzy since graduation. :)

Anne N Kenny said...

There's always summer!

I think YA has lost some of its stigma. I can hold conversations about books with people I would never expect to be well read in teen angst.

Rebecca Knight said...

It's me.

I'm reading all of them :).


Maybe moms are just using their kids as YA beards and keeping the books for themselves!

Josh Hoyt said...

Yes they are overburdened with reading that they stop loving the act of reading. I think it is important to expand their horizons but just as important to allow them to search out their own.

Lynda R Young said...

hahaha Naw, I never read the required reading in school. I instead bought the abdridged notes so I had time to read the cool novels.

Gracie said...

I know at least in my school, required reading is a) super easy and b) we take months to work on one book. Conclusion: Required reading does not take the place of reading for fun. Other things, however, do. I think if there is a teen who isn't really, REALLY into reading then they are going to focus their time and energy and time on other stuff they like to do for enjoyment.

As far who IS reading all the YA... I have heard many conversations and comments from people who aren't teens about how YA is such a good genre, interesting, a good place to find good books. So I'm guessing a lot of people who read YA aren't teens.

Laura Pauling said...

My kids aren't that old yet to know for sure. But I know my 12 year old reads YA. A lot of middle schoolers read up. I think it's all the writers supporting each other!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Personally, I read all the time during high school. There were a few times I read during class although that was more in grade school. I wrote during class too (both grade school and high school) but then again, I wasn't exactly your typical teen (then again, who is/was?).

I do think teens are reading, but maybe not as much as they would like. I think a lot of people are reading YA, not just teens.

Nicole L Rivera said...

I think it's just like adult readers. Teens who love to read make the time. Adults who love to read make the time. The ones *ahem* like many of my family members who stick their nose down at reading (minor venting), will never read even if granted and extra 24 in the day.

I always read as a teen and I still do read and it is always YA. (A lot of adults read YA).

tahlianewland.com said...

I don't know about other countries but in Australia & NZ teens time for rec reading drops at the ages of 17 & 18. They'll still make time to read a book they're enthusiastic about though and may indulge in reading for pleasure during holidays. My 17 yr old daughter has read voraciously over this easter break.

Jessica Nelson said...

Probably. My son has 90 minutes required reading per day. He's in first grade and it's a Florida mandate.
That said, nothing ever stopped me from reading for fun! Heck, required reading wasn't horrible either because I had a huge list of books to choose from.

Ishta Mercurio said...

I think it's about priorities. I read in high school - on weekends and during vacations. But during the school week, I had WAY too much homework. So I can see where other teens would spend that free time doing other things: sports, wandering the mall, etc.

And all those YA books? Definitely adults. Mostly women, I'd guess, but some men in there too. My hubby loves them.

Jessica Love said...

This is why I give my students time in class every day to read. I know it might be the ONLY time they have. And even still some of them try to get me to let them do other homework. Nope...pleasure reading only!

Lisa R/alterlisa said...

I think it's not only the required reading but they just have so much going on. My daughter had dance two nights a week, guitar, crusades, and worked one weekend night at the BBQ. Now that she is in college, she has two or three nights a week with crusades and is either researching, writing or editing a paper the rest of the time. She lives for summer when she can read for fun.

Carol Riggs said...

Aw, that is just SAD that teens don't have time to read. I think adult women are reading YA more and more. And other YA writers, of course! As far as the teens...it's too bad more teachers can't incorporate YA books into their curriculum. Some do. But I suppose if you have to read something for a class, it's nowhere near as enjoyable as reading it for pleasure! ;o)

Riv Re said...

I totally second that. I don't get that much required reading, but in my private school, we're in school for a LONG time every day, and then we have heaps of homework. I use to read nightly, now mostly on weekends. I couldn't survive without pleasure reading.
I have spring break now, and I have to read Jane Eyre for when I get back. I did some mental math on my vacation (horror) and discovered that I have 14 and 1/2 hours of reading left. This was when I was almost a quarter of the way through. And that's not everything.

Well, I'm not here to complain about my homework. We definitely do not have that much time to read. I reminisce about junior high, when I had three hours to read nightly.

Riv Re said...

I totally second that. I don't get that much required reading, but in my private school, we're in school for a LONG time every day, and then we have heaps of homework. I use to read nightly, now mostly on weekends. I couldn't survive without pleasure reading.
I have spring break now, and I have to read Jane Eyre for when I get back. I did some mental math on my vacation (horror) and discovered that I have 14 and 1/2 hours of reading left. This was when I was almost a quarter of the way through. And that's not everything.

Well, I'm not here to complain about my homework. We definitely do not have that much time to read. I reminisce about junior high, when I had three hours to read nightly.

Deana said...

I would have to say a big resounding no kids don't have time to read for fun unless they are homeschooled like my little bros and sis...they read like mad. I can remember in high school loving to read, but I hardly ever did it unless it was for English. It wasn't until after I got married that I began to read as much as I eat and let me tell ya, that is a lot!
I think the YA market is read by a bunch of twenty and thirty something women. In my opinion. We hold that "age of firsts" so dear and reading them is like reliving it all over...with some added suspense, adventure and what not. I'm sure the teens read it to however because every time I'm in B&N rumaging through the YA isle, tons of young girls are right there with me.

Jewelz said...

At my school we don't have many required books to read. But I usually do all of my reading at home after school. I sometimes try to sneak in some reading in between lessons and classes ;D

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