What is your teenager reading?(61 Posts)
Interesting article on BBC news today:
"A study of reading habits of 300,000 pupils in 1,600 UK schools found many 13- and 14-year-olds opting for books with a primary school reading age.
Boys were particularly likely to read books which were less difficult.
Report author Prof Keith Topping says this could explain why teenagers' reading levels could "lag behind".
The average reading age of the books chosen by 13 and 14-year-olds was only 10 years, claims the report."
What are your teenagers reading? My three dss are dwelling happily in the dystopian nightmares of Charlie Higson's adult zombies trying to kill anyone under 14 (*sigh*) ...
Am I the only one who is really over the whole vampire romance/zombie killing-spree genres?
Thoughts (& suggestions!) please ...?
TheCheeseAlarm The Black Cloud is my favourite ever childhood book and I re-read it last year (I seem to have stolen a copy from my school...).
It's a very male-orientated world in science, the politicans are arseholes, and the USA and the UK have a tense 'pissing up the wall' relationship behind the scenes. Considering it was written in the 1960s(?), it's spookily prescient.
And the Cloud is genuinely fascinating.
DS1(14) The Black Cloud - Sir Fred Hoyle (SciFi written by an astrophysicist); Private Eye; New Scientist and anything else he finds lying around. He's known as 'the boy with the book' at school, as he permanently has one in his hand and often walks into things!
DS2(12) Mad Dogs - Robert Muchamore
I think she's reading "I am number 4" but I'm not sure, she is always reading and goes through books like most people go through clean pairs of socks!
Ds is nearly 14 and never reads. He has probably read 2 books in 2 years outside school and they are Michael Morpurgo ones.
Somehow he is forecast A for gCSE English.
Dd the same...she has a mountain of depressing teen angst books by the side of her bed, but would rather sing or play guitar. Again she is forecast A for English.
I read 2-3 books a week. Dh one book a year.
DS read Animal Farm , 1984, A short History of almost everything by Bill Bryson, James Herbert books, subscribed to Wired magazine, Fermats last therom (he likes maths ) and some books from the TV series 24.
This was between the ages of 13-17
Ds (12) has recently read some Anthony Horowitz books (Diamond Brothers) and a book by Louis Sachar. Next on his list is one of the Charlie Higson "Young Bond" books.
He also likes to re-read books he has previously enjoyed. These include all the Arthur Ransomes (which he first started reading when he was about 7) and the Professor Branestawm books.
To go back to the OP, I disagree slightly that teenagers are self-dumbing down. On the whole, the brighter, good readers are reading plenty of age appropriate and often challenging adult stuff; the less competent/enthusiastic readers I'd rather see reading Wimpy Kid and Diary of a Dork than nothing: some don't challenge themselves enough and some you'll never get reading at all (or until later).
Where I do agree is that even the best teenage fiction is more limited in terms of vocabulary than classic children's fiction and that's to be regretted - but in terms of plot, theme and structure they can be quite sophisticated.
And I would posit there are more teenagers reading now than in the 'good old days' precisely because there is so much aimed at them. It's a really new genre after all. In 'my day' we would go straight from children's books to adult 'genre' fiction (romance, fantasy or horror, usually) and I'm a) not sure that that is of any better 'value' than teen lit (if we're being qualitatively judgemental) and b) very sure that more of my peers stopped reading at 11 than those of my ds today.
Dd1 (13) is currently not reading anything as I have confiscated her kindle until her bedroom is clean
I rarely ask her what she's reading because I more or less trust her to make appropriate choices. She's read LOTR recently and seems to have downloaded a load of books to learn Japanese , presumably so she can read manga in the original language.
John Green is great, btw, really good, quirky books. And popular with boys almost as much as girls in my experience.
Ds 17 is reading a physics book by the actor/comedian Ben Miller. Dd probably something by John Green
I too don't really care what ds (12) reads but we do have a sort of 'house rule' which is an old book (re-read) has to alternate with a new book.
So, on his bedside table at the moment are Gone by Michael Grant (a new read); 13 and a Half Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers (a comfort re-read - though this is actually a giant tome of an adult fantasy novel but he's had the series since age 9); Bumface by Morris Gleitzman (reading together) and loads of comics (Simpsons, Phoenix etc); as well as a stack of non-fiction - he quite likes philosophy stuff by DK etc at the moment.
Audiobooks are an excellent alternative for dc who struggle but enjoy escaping into the world of fiction, and vlogs and youtube also fantastic for learning loads of different stuff (TED lectures are excellent).
My DS processes visual information really slowly (but isn't technically dyslexic). He refused to read for years but now rising 14 is slowly working his way through Game of Thrones, after Cherub. We resorted to audio-books, which he adores and he is a good judge of the readers which lends an added dimension to his thoughts on lit crit. And he has a Kindle but not one that does text to speech. It has taken years and had us worried sick, but slowly slowly slowly (and fingers crossed) it seems to be resolving.
In public or in private?
In public- Camus
In private-Jilly Cooper
Might be helpful for either reluctant or dyslexic teens. Lots of useful links:
For dyslexic or reluctant teen readers
DD(15) is another John Green fan. She's currently trying out Stephen King's It, which I have not read but she reports it's slow to get into. DD(12) reads and re-reads obsessively so is on about her 4th time round the Cherub series at the moment and waiting for the next Michael Grant. We share a Kindle account too and I feed them each a new book every now and again when they seem fed up with what they have.
I don't mind them reading easy stuff - don't worry about DD1 at all but I do intervene a little with DD2 when she sticks to certain familiar authors. But she's rarely to be seen without her kindle so it's really only about trying to broaden her tastes.
I found this article and find it sensible and reassuring:
Sometimes my sons read thought provoking books and sometimes they read fun books. Pretty much as I do. My main concern about teenagers is that there is someone - teacher/librarian/friend/parent - making them aware of the amazing books out there so they can make a good choice.
dd (13) has always been a great reader, reading pretty much anything from Jane Austen to Twilight (3 years ago, and has now realized how awful it is for many reasons, and hates it!). At the moment she is into John Green and has just started Empire Falls by Richard Russo. I think she has the Great Gatsby lined up next.
DS1, now 22, stopped reading anything but Top Gear magazine through his teenage years. He's dyslexic and recently started reading for pleasure again, currently Sherlock Holmes and James Bond. I'm so pleased he is getting pleasure from it, as it pained me that he disliked reading so much, especially as the rest of us are avid readers.
DS2, 13, currently has three on the go. Fatherland by Robert Harris, Passenger by Andrew Smith (sequel to The Marbury Lens) and a weighty tome about the Cold War, The Iron Curtain by Anne Applebaum. He's a history buff and very interested in WW2. He devoured the Henderson Boys and Cherub books but is preferring more adult stuff now he's a teenager.
Ds (13) is going through Terry Pratchett's disc world books. All of them.
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DS1 (13) is currently reading Insurgent, the second book in the Divergent trilogy, which is set in a dystopian (future world) Chicago. It has a bit of a The Hunger Games vibe to it, but after finishing the first book in the series, DS1 has already declared it better than The Hunger Games.
DS1 likes to mix up his reading, so while he is currently reading a 'teen/young adult' novel, his previous book was Wuthering Heights. And no he wasn't reading it for school, he read it out of choice, as he likes the Kate Bush song of the same name.
Oh, I've got that Orwell in my pile of books to read - is he enjoying it?
DD has read Animal Farm and enjoyed, will pass on the other Orwell to her.
ds (nearly 14) has a Kindle stuffed with 'spies and lasers, Mum, now leave me alone' - he has a pocket money account and goes through the taster chapters and downloads things that fit his bill. (It's all around the Cherub genre, I think.)
He also reads more classic things - lots of science fiction (Ray Bradbury, John Wyndham), and recently Orwell - he's on Down & Out in Paris & London at the moment, which is a great read for a teenager.
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