Internet the last word for teenage readers
LOSING yourself in a good book is one of life's great pleasures. But today's teenagers are more likely to spend their time reading celebrity magazines, song lyrics or internet blogs than to sit down with a classic novel.
A new survey asking young people what they most liked to read put magazines and websites far ahead of novels.
Even popular stories like Harry Potter have been pushed down the favourite reads list by online blogs, and websites with computer game cheats.
Despite nearly half of 11- to 14-year-olds saying they had been criticised by adults for their choice of reading matter, parents and teachers groups welcomed the findings.
More than 1,340 teenagers were quizzed online about their reading habits.
The results showed many preferred reading on the internet to the traditional book.
The most popular reads for 11-14-year-olds were celebrity magazines, followed by online song lyrics, computer game cheats, and blogs.
Only in fifth place comes the first book, JK Rowling's Harry Potter series.
The only other book titles in the top ten are Anne Frank's Diary in sixth, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis in ninth place.
Authors such as Anthony Horowitz and Louise Rennison are also popular.
However, the most hated reading was homework, followed by Shakespeare.
The study said 45 per cent of youngsters aged 11-14 had been told their choice was "not proper" reading by an adult.
However, the authors of Read Up, Fed Up, compiled by the National Year of Reading and online teen community Piczo, said such criticism could deter youngsters from reading. And parents and education leaders called on adults to support youngsters' choices and urged them not to be "snobby" about reading choices.
On the most disliked list were books more than 100 pages long, and those children have to read for school.
Encyclopaedias, dictionaries, music scores and the Financial Times were, perhaps unsurprisingly, also ranked among the least enjoyed reads. Shock entries include the Beano, magazine articles about skinny celebrities, and the Harry Potter books.
The findings support new literacy guidelines published earlier this year in Scotland which will encourage teachers to use the internet and text messaging to engage pupils under the new Curriculum for Excellence.
A spokesman for Scotland's biggest teaching union, the EIS, described it as extremely positive that young people chose to read for enjoyment in their own time. He said: "All reading is valuable and helps young people to improve their level of literacy, their vocabulary and their knowledge.
"There must also be a recognition that other forms of reading – online, magazines, newspapers etc – also bring many educational benefits."
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "Reading shouldn't be hard work, which is why it's right that young people should read things they find interesting and entertaining – and while they're doing so, they're improving their literacy ability."
Eleanor Coner, information officer for the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said it was great news that teenagers enjoy reading.
She said: "Some adults need to let go of their snobbish attitudes to reading and should just accept the fact that teenagers' reading habits and reading material have changed.
"OK, so they may not be reading 'traditional' fiction, but at least they are reading."
'Reading lyrics online helps you understand'
I LIKE to sing but if I don't know the words I will go on the computer and read the lyrics online.
I like just reading them because sometimes you can't understand the words just from listening.
The most recent lyrics I was reading were from Amy Winehouse's album Back to Black.
Quite a lot of my friends go online and bring the words into school so we can learn them.
Then we will sing them together.
You can really relate to the lyrics a lot, but in English we have to read Shakespeare.
I think most people enjoy it, but they like what they choose to read themselves more.
I like reading Harry Potter and also listening to the books on tape, and I enjoy Anthony Horowitz.
I don't really read that many magazines.
Most of my friends read magazines but not that many, really. Some people read books more like Jacqueline Wilson.
Also, sometimes if I read a book and the text is too small it puts me off and I won't read it.
The last book I read was Refugee Boy, by Benajmin Zephaniah.
I really enjoyed it and finished in two sittings.
At the moment I'm reading The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, because I've just seen the film on television.
And I've also read the Philip Pullman trilogy with my dad.
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