For the love of it …

hanging around

(Five year old boxer and reader ‘hanging around” at K.A.P.O.W. gym Gold Coast , Saturday 27th September,2014)

Do you love reading? I do. I believe that cultivating this passion in students is more important than worrying about which format they choose to read books (E-readers or real books – or preferably both!). In my work as a boxing coach, I tell young students the benefits of reading as well as being physically active. I am happy to have children hang around after their class and read while mum or dad is still training. I also believe – based on a recent Nielson poll- that encouraging teachers and parents to share their love of reading, must be every teacher-librarian’s (TL’s) primary goal. Here’s why:

In January this year, Nielson Book survey showed that (in the US) more teens (41%) now say they “don’t” read for fun – up from 21% in 2011. Fairly shocking statistics and one that should motivate all TL’s to do everything in their power to help reverse this trend. The action I am referring to should by no means be forced, or a solo effort. Rather, it should be an impassioned, united, sharing of an important past time we all enjoy – TL’s, teachers and family members. Here’s why:

In “Kids Books Online and Off: Changing Buying Behaviors in the Digital Age (Nielsen – Jo Henry – Jonathan Nowell, 2014)” from Publishers Launch Conferences slide thirty shows that 17% of teens strongly prefer print and 33% generally prefer print. This is more than double those who strongly prefer e-book (6%) and generally prefer ebook (15%). 28% show no preference. While data about preferences is important, as it will help guide how to spend future budgets to match our student’s preferences, our main concern still lies with the getting those who “don’t” read for fun (41%) to read in either format. From slide 24 of the same survey of 3000 people across 10 countries, information about the “The Most Important Factors in Children’s Book Discovery by Age” is revealed. This data shows that the teacher has almost twice the influence (18%) over the school librarian (10%) – who is slightly lower than the public librarian (12%) – in what children, aged seven to twelve, choose to read. Though the combined effort of teachers and librarians (public and school) is 40%, greater than the highest factor in children’s book discovery surveyed -37% – “directly from the child”. Family and friends account for a huge 27% influence on discovering a new book in this same age group. Imagine the collective influence that will be harnessed with the combined persuasive power of the TL, teachers and family members all working to spread the same sincere message – a love of reading?

Do you have any strategies that involve the TL, all teachers and family members sharing a love of reading with students? If you do, please make a comment. I would love to read them.

Picture 13

Slide 30 – What Format Do Teens Prefer . Source: Neilson’s Childrens Deep Dive US, Fall 2013.

Picture 14

Slide 33 – Most Important Factors in Children’s Book Discovery by Age. Source: Neilson’s Childrens Deep Dive US, Fall 2013.



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