My reading survey, introduces readers to a survey I gave to five students that I found at my place of work. Before the survey, I had a lot of predetermined answers to my questions that I expected teens would say but, I was very wrong. Many teens today, enjoy reading and value it as a skill they are thankful to have learned. Also, I did not expect teens to take my survey serious but I received complete responses which, were about a sentence long for each question. However, if I had realized sooner how much information these students were willing to share I would have asked more personal questions. For example, has a book helped you learned about yourself? How? That would have been a great question to have included in my survey so, I hope in the future to conduct another.
Inspiring Teens to Read
It was not difficult finding teens between the ages 12-18, since I work at a YMCA and there are a lot of teens who come to my place of work. I did not take gender into account and I did not focus on a certain age group. I wanted to produce as much diversity as possible from the survey results, including different schools. My aim of the survey was to find out what made a young adult want to read or not read? Did parents, friends, or movies motivate them to read? Could Facebook inspire them to read? I wanted to know what makes a teen have the desire to read.
For the first question, four out of five students said no school has not negatively changed how they feel about reading. It surprised me that of those four students, one of them defended their years of schooling stating, “No, because I learned to read in school.” This student realized without school they wouldn’t be reading at all and the other three students have managed to not let school interfere with what they get out of reading on their own time. I asked this question because based on my earlier experiences of school, it had negatively changed how I feel about reading. I assumed that middle and high school students would not want to read because school would have ruined it for them but that was not the case.
Question #2, asked if they read outside of school for pleasure reading and four out of five said yes. Of those four, two of them found reading fun and entertaining, which leads me to wonder about the notion that teens don’t read as much as before. In my survey results, it shows television and internet are not the only things that are fun and entertaining to do during leisure time but books are too. Additionally, one student said, “Yes, because I love to and it is really relaxing”. This student had found reading to be therapeutic and probably allows themselves to escape into stories, away from their stressful environments in the real world. Furthermore, my results to question three were very similar to one another, four out of five said they liked to read either Fantasy, Mystery, or Horror. The other student gave a too broad answer, “I read whatever is good in the teen genre”. Although, what is interesting is that the genres Horror, Mystery, and Fantasy seem to be the most popular genres young adults chose to read. So what makes these specific genres so appealing to teens? Well for instance, Horror has always been very enthralling to our culture because we love to be scared. Scary stores are powerful, they give you chills, make you question if these stories can happen to you, and even give nightmares. Similarly, mystery has the ability to keep you on the edge of your seat and keep you engaged with the text because you never know what is to happen next. Lastly, Fantasy is unlike anything in the real world, it makes you imagine things you never knew you could.
My aim for question four, was to see if I could meet teens on their level by bringing reading discussions on Facebook. I had the perceived idea that a lot of teens spent most of their time on social media websites. I was hoping this would spark interest and possibly make a teen want to read more. However, the results to the question were much skewed, out of the five students, one person chose to stick to the traditional form of discussing books and said, “I would use a club called Miss Ranger Day Camp.” Additionally, two other students said they don’t have Facebook accounts and the other said “No, because it doesn’t sound fun”. Perhaps, Facebook is only meant for socializing with family and friends. Although, I heard that some schools have already begun this method and many libraries currently post discussion day events specifically targeting teens to attend.
Likewise, for question #5, the older age students who were 16 and 17, both read zero books in the past two months for pleasure reading. On the other hand, the two 12 year olds said they read at least 34 books in the past two months. From this snapshot of results, it seems the older you are, the less time you have for free reading due to school, extracurricular activities, or a job. My favorite question was #6 because I wanted to know if movies inspired teens to read. I found that 4 out 5, would read the book first. One student said, “I would read the book then the movie, so I can compare the differences and see what the movie left out.” Based on my data, it seems movies are inspiring some teens to read because it introduces them to titles they feel noteworthy to read, since it is being made into a motion picture. Then #7, 4 out of 5 said yes. They would let their peers influence what they read. The one student who said no stated, “No, because my friends don’t read.” Of course the people we hang out with influence our life and based on the data it seems that teens, who do not have friends that read are less likely to read as well. I would like to have 100 teens answer this question.
Moreover, for question #8, I wanted to see if they were reading other young adult books that I had not heard of. However, only one person gave a title that is not well known which, was a book called Aries Rising. The other titles were Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Fault in Our Stars that are on the honor list for young adult literature. For next question, I wanted to know how they felt about adults influencing their reading habits. I found 4 out 5 students, would let adults influence their reading. This shows adults are freely able to guide some teens with their reading and help them discover things an adult finds intriguing and significant. Only one person disagreed with this idea and said, “No, because their books are boring”. For question #10, I wanted to know if teens were reading other things besides books. I found that they read blogs on Facebook, newspapers, magazines, and articles. These things many people do not consider to be actual reading because it is not a book. Before I also did not consider these things reading because of my personal definition of reading. I use to think reading involved holding a physical book and others still may feel this way today. The teens who may not be reading books but are reading in the form of magazine, newspapers, blogs, etc. are not being counted as readers like they should be. They receive information from each of those other forms of reading just like books.
Overall, my survey results have given me a glimpse of teens reading habits. My survey’s goal was to find out what inspires a young adult to read whether it be a movie, Facebook, adults, or friend I at least wanted to discover that teens were being motivated to read. However, each teen is different what makes one person compelled to read a book may make another bored but if teens were inspired to read more and more, imagine what they would learn about themselves and life. They need to know books are always waiting for them to absorb the knowledge they contain.