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20% of Kids Think Books Are “Embarrassing”

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Make books cool again!

Our culture celebrates technological advances. Remember those eye-popping iPod commercials that featured dancing silhouettes? The media focuses on new releases from Apple, e-readers and exciting video games so much that it’s no wonder books have fallen into the “uncool” category. And unless TV networks start running regular commercials for the next hot book series, it is up to parents and teachers to make books cool again.

Talk to your kids about how books have changed the world — starting with the Bible and working right up to “The Hunger Games.” Ask them to think about what their lives would be like if nobody could read or write. While computers certainly have changed our lives over the past fifty years, books have had even more of an influence on the shape of our world today!

Encourage your kids to think about which books and characters have affected them the most. Was there a time when they were sad and a funny scene in a book made them feel better? Or was there a day that was boring until they picked up their favorite Harry Potter book and were instantly transported to Hogwarts?

Teach them about Banned Books Week. Some books are so powerful and controversial that they have been banned from school and public libraries. This aspect of literacy may appeal to kids who rebel against authority. Give them a list of banned books and encourage them to read their way through.

Books still matter

Even in the 21st century, books are not obsolete. They remain one of the most accessible, affordable tools for education and entertainment. Our goal should be to foster a strong culture of reading amongst kids and to teach them that books are one of humankind’s most important inventions, so that no one is ever embarrassed or ashamed to be caught with a book in his or her hands.


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Teaching Feminism: Summer Reading, Girls Vs. Boys


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Photo: MIKI Yoshihito/flickr

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10:35AM PDT on Mar 28, 2013

If kids see Mom with within reach they'll do the same (mostly!) 4 out of 6 in my house

12:28PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

GREAT article. who can't love books?!?

12:34PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

Books are way better than iPads.

8:51PM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

You are correct in saying technology has replaced reading a book. Too bad for this generation.

4:19PM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

Well, I'm only 19 and I've never cared if people see me reading. I've read a lot of Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Anthony Horowitz, etc., on my own time. I still love video games and the internet, but I'm going to read if I feel like it. I prefer to read when I'm alone, but just to avoid distractions.

8:39PM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

More books; fewer ipads.

11:38AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

Books aren't "cool" in a culture of conspicuous consumption because they are cheaper than electronic technology.

9:09AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

How things have changed! And not for the better! I rue the time when Fahrenheit 451 becomes a reality and only the select few have the archives of every literary masterpieces ever written in their brain's memory bank and there's no longer any internet (Oh No!!! Lol! How can we go on?) Books should be every child's friend!

7:44AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

I come from a family of mostly non-readers (although we did have some children's books in the house that were read to us when we were little) and yet I always loved books. I remember my mom having to kick me out of the house to go play because I preferred to stay inside and read. I understand that fresh air and exercise are also important, I suppose. I always read to my kids, and 2 out of 3 are readers. I don't know what happened with the other. It makes me sad that he does not like to read. My husband and I have a book problem. Seriously, we are overrun with books, no place to put them all, they are in bookcases, boxes, in piles everywhere... but we cannot bear to part with them. I wish I had more time to read. It is one of life's greatest pleasures.

5:02AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

sadly, the issue is not as simple as fostering a love of books. Once they hit school and bullying etc start, then there's not a lot you can do. Like a lot of things, change can be gradual once there's a problem there. And the best you could hope for is that they read at home and while away from those who they'd be embarrassed about reading in front of.

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