I Bet You Won’t Read This


Savanna Sievert

A student at Kennedy High School pulling a book off of the shelf.

Maggie Talbott-Malone and Lindsey Matus

High school students have been trading in their books and replacing them with screens as they try to stay connected to an ever changing world of digital media.  As daily screen time has increased over the last few years, daily reading has declined. For some this is cause for alarm. What if people never get to know the feeling of curling up with a good book?

In an era of technology, physical books have become increasingly obsolete. As the digital age progresses, social media has become an important part of everyday life. A decrease in reading has been easy to spot as we spend more time online.

From 2005 to 2017, in the U.S., the average time spent reading amongst people 15 years or older has decreased by 22.8 minutes a day. 

“I think there has kind of been a decline in how much people are reading,” said Abigail Enos, sr. Enos has been a regular at the Kennedy library for all four years of her high school career.

These few minutes previously spent reading have been replaced with screen time (yes, we’re aware you are reading this on a screen). Large amounts of screen time have made noticeable changes in the way people consume knowledge. One of these changes is losing your ability to stay focused for long periods of time.

“I think [people are] definitely spending less time reading. Even when they’re reading, they’re not really reading,” said Lesa Neff, the media specialist at Kennedy.

Levels of stress in students are higher than ever before, and some of that can be attributed to the lack of reading. Stress relieving methods such as walking or listening to music has been proven to be less effective at relieving stress than reading a book. 

There is nothing better to help you calm down at the end of the day than to read a book. 

“Sometimes I need a break from technology. I get super overwhelmed by the screen and the lights. Just holding a book where I can put my phone away is nice,” said Enos. “It’s one of the few separations we have left from technology.”

Physical books have become less relevant due to technology. Books have certainly had their day in the sun.  As writers, educators, parents and readers we need to fight so that the next generation knows the feeling of turning the page to see what happens next.