Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reading, a Harry situation...

Does the Harry Potter series deserve as much credit for motivating young readers as has been given?

According to this NYT article, no.

Studies have shown that interest in reading peaks with every new installment of HP and then reverses back to the previous interest level. Meaning that children don't pick up other books while waiting for the next HP. Is reading one book every two or so years enough?

One researcher at Stamford said that we put too much interest on reading for pleasure. He says children should read for information in preparation for what they will need to survive the real world. He poses the question, when will reading literature be a necessary skill/pass time?

What do you think?

Should children be encouraged to read for pleasure? Is reading a fundamental skill that should be developed? Or, as the one researcher suggests, should reading for information be the skill that is developed in school?


Slave to the dogs said...

Doesn't reading for pleasure help improve your skills at reading for information? That was how it always felt to me as a kid. Hell, even now. Always room for improvement!

Michael said...

Don't both reading for information and reading for pleasure kind of go hand in hand? If the kids are reading for pleasure, whatever they choose to read, they are reading to understand what they're reading. And in the work world, often times we read to understand something.

Also, I think reading helps when you're attempting to put together thoughts in writing--say for example that silly e-mail thing or the office memo. No, it doesn't have to be a great tome of literature but it should be readable and follow the rules of grammar and spelling.

So, I think you can and should have both--reading for purpose and reading for pleasure.

Sarah Ashlee said...

Slave - I think the more you read of anything, the better you will be. Let's not limit our children to only what we feel they will need. By doing this, we might be limiting, and leaving uninspired, the next great novelist.

Michael - I wholeheartedly agree that children (and adults) should read for information and pleasure. That's why classes in K-12 are so instrumental - they teach (or should teach) you to enjoy both!