As Simon Jenkins recently acknowledged in The Guardian, “At last. Peak digital is at hand. The ultimate disruptor of the new information age is ... wait for it ... the book. Shrewd observers noted the early signs.
Kindle sales initially outstripped hardbacks but have slid fast since 2011 ... Waterstones last year stopped selling Kindles and e-books outside the UK, switched shelf space to books and saw a 5% rise in sales. Amazon has opened its first bookshop.”
This week in Year 8 Language and Literature classrooms, students revisited some of their favourite books from their primary years as part of our latest unit of work on Picture Books. They discussed the importance of instilling a love of reading books in small children in light of research conducted by organisations such as Britain’s National Literacy Trust. The Trust conducted a study in 2013 of 34,910 young people aged 8 to 16 showing that those who read only onscreen were three times less likely to say they enjoy reading very much and a third less likely to have a favourite book, and that young people who read daily only onscreen were nearly two times less likely to be above-average readers than those who read daily in print or both in print and onscreen.
According to Time Magazine, “Deep reading — as opposed to the often superficial reading we do on the Web — is an endangered practice, one we ought to take steps to preserve as we would a historic building or a significant work of art ... the ‘reading circuits’ we construct are recruited from structures in the brain that evolved for other purposes — and these circuits can be feeble or they can be robust, depending on how often and how vigorously we use them.”
Year 8 students have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to reminisce about times spent re-reading stories such as Animalia, The Green Sheep, Where the Wild Things Are, Guess How Much I Love You and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Our studies will encourage them to discover the ways that picture books can provide children with a way of understanding a variety of complex ideas across a wide range of topics, from creating positive relationships with others, to building empathy for the challenges faced by Indigenous Australians.
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