I've been an art teacher, a black and white artist, a graphic artist and muralist. Now I work making catalogs and as a writer of fantasy and science fiction.
What Rob is talking about below is aliteration. People who know how to read but just don't for one reason or another. Many people worry about teens who don't read. And since Rob has already posted, I'll add my two-bits.
Did you know that no one carried a book into 6 out of every 10 houses in the U.S. last year? Did you know that half of U.S. citizens are illiterate or aliterate? Are you aware we are raising a generation of aliterate children?
Aliterate? The whole concept is mind-bending to me. Someone who can read but doesn't read for the sheer pleasure of immersing themselves in a story? I've learned you can read to you children from the get-go, but by the time they are teens, they might be aliterate. There are many reasons. If you remember, there is a lot of (excuse me) BORING reading required in school rooms. Teens are drawn by other media like electronic games, cell phones, texting, My Space and television with their quick pleasure pay-offs. Sometimes just finding time to rest can be a major teen problem.
~Kylene Beers, a professor of reading at the University of Houston, is one of the few academics that have written about the phenomenon. According to her, there are two types of reading. Efferent reading is purposeful reading, the kind students labor to do in schools. Efferent readers take something useful from the material such as answers for a test. Aesthetic reading is reading for the sheer bliss of it. ~
Love that label. Aesthetic Reading. So how do we create Aesthetic Readers?
Check out this article Getting teens to read by Gwynne Spencer. Her are a few of her comments and suggestions.
~Read aloud to them when you’re a co-passenger in the car or plane.~
~Tell them they’re "not old enough to read it" and you can bet your booties they’ll beg, borrow or steal a copy.~
~Add an allowance bonus of $1 for every half hour they spend in front of the TV with the one-eyed monster turned off, while they read.~~Take them to the bookstore, the library and the school bookfair and buy them books. If we’re going to win the war on illiteracy or aliteracy, we have to begin with a massive assault on lack of appropriate reading matter. In our world, if we value it, we BUY it.~
As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, mentors, let's all make sure our children are Aesthetic Readers. We can give them no greater life-time gift.