The rise and fall of reading

Molly Begeman, Features Editor

Growing up, one of my favorite pastimes was burying my nose in a book — nowadays, you can barely get children or adults to pick up a book for leisure. 

With a rise in technology and screens, children and adults are dependent on them for entertainment — the age of reading is coming to an end. 

This is not just an assumption. Research proves that children throughout the years are reading less and less. 

The Reading Zone, a hub for all things about children’s books, posted an article that shared the staggering statistics of the decline of reading.  

“In 2012, 38% of 0-17s read ‘every day or nearly every day’ for pleasure; by 2021, just 25% of children read for pleasure… so one in five children aged 0-17 — nearly 3 million children — did not read for pleasure at all in 2021.”  

To think that this many children do not open books for their own entertainment is alarming.  I spent so much of my childhood nose deep in books — and now children are nose-deep in screens.   

This decline is not only in children. Teens and adults have found they also do not have a desire to sit down and read for their own entertainment.   

Gallup did research on the amount that adults have read from 2002 to 2021 — the results mimic those of children.  From 2002 to 2021, the number of books that the average adult said they read in a year went from 15.2 books to 12.6 books. 

This is disheartening to me, since getting lost in a book is one of my favorite pastimes.   

Despite the large decrease in the lack of reading among Americans of all ages, this past summer I saw a trend of reading.  

I do not know if it is just my personal TikTok and Instagram, but they were filled with book recommendations from influencers and people in general.  

With the rise of this trend, there was a rise of people frequenting bookstores, and the rise of bookstores creating displays for “BookTok” books.   

I am not one to say that I too did not fall into the lure of this trend.  I love when people suggest books that they enjoyed and that others would too, but this trend has already faded.  

I find the people who participated in this trend are the same ones that complain about reading for a class or a job.  It is only fun when the masses are participating, otherwise you are just a “nerd” or “book worm.”  

Truthfully, I enjoy going to bookstores to simply look.  The fact that reading to get lost in a book, learn something new or expand your knowledge is not common is sad to the younger me.  Wanting to learn is not a trend.  It is not something that should fade in and out.  It is something that everyone should want to do, whether it is popular or not.