Reading: a lost art?

The face of reading has changed dramatically over the past few years. Today, many teenagers still choose the traditional way to read: holding the actual copy in their hands. Others have resorted to the newer and more current way of reading: accessing books digitally through laptops, iPads, Kindles, and more.

Regardless of the means teenagers utilize to read, it is a refreshing thought that the pastime of reading has not been lost in the whirlwind of technology, extracurricular activities, and friends.

Perhaps, this maintained love of reading is a direct correlation between the surge of popular pop-culture books which have been translated onto the silver screen. What with the million-dollar movies, crazed fans, and extensive series that have captivated teenage audiences across the globe, is hard to resist the temptation to pick up either Harry Potter, Twilight, or The Hunger Games.

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer is one of my favorite books,” says Shannon Dugan, a sophomore at Stratford High School.

“I went to both of the midnight premieres for the movies. I love how the directors brought the characters, thoughts, and emotions to life. They truly captured the switch of the point of view that Stephenie creates in the novel.”

Of course, when it comes to the transformation of books to movies, there is always the inevitable discussion as to which version is better. While some teenagers like Dugan are thoroughly impressed by the movies and love to experience the action literally jumping off the page, others find the books are much more enjoyable.

“I find the original text is always better than watching the movie,” says Kathy Lainez, a senior at Stratford High School. “If I read the book I won’t watch the movie.”

These harsh movie critiques by teenagers are often due to the fact that the movies take creative licenses and alter certain events or characters. Other times, teenagers simply feel that no movie is worthy to live up to their idealized, imagined versions of how the books should truly be translated.
Furthermore, although a myriad of teenagers do consider themselves avid readers, there are also numerous teens that cannot manage to read as much as they would like to. These students unfortunately claim that when they finally finish their assigned reading for school, there is not a substantial amount of time remaining in their busy schedule to pick up a book and start reading for pleasure.

According to Esha Deshmukh of Milford, a senior at Jonathan Law High School, “I like to read, but I have no time with all the homework I have.”

This sentiment also holds true for Maggie DeCapua, a senior at Stratford High School.

“I definitely don’t have enough time to read,” says DeCapua. “I find that I can only read school-assigned books at this point.”

It could be useful if schools evaluate this issue in order to give all students an opportunity to read for pleasure. Potentially, this could be resolved by implementing periods of the day designated for independent reading.  Not only will this provide positive results, but also strengthen the trend teens have started by maintaining reading as a hobby.

Written by Alison Kuznitz, a junior at Trumbull High School