In a world that advances by the second and lives are lived twice as fast as ten years ago are our habits really meant to stay the same? Today I was on the train from London and everyone seemed to be busy on phones, MP3 players and tablets. Even I had my favourite gadget, my iPod. But the real question you should be asking is not 'what did I have in my hand?' but what I was using it for. The answer: I was reading.
I am in my late teens and I am dyslexic. When I was 10 years old I struggled to read and hated the books we studied in class as they were all so boring, but I loved the books my mum read to me and soon figured out that if I could read well enough I could read whatever I liked.
Now I have a library of over 400 books on my iPod and read for an average of fourteen hours a week. On top of that I write for about seven hours and after emailing a well-established author asking for advice on how to get my work published I have self-published 15 stories on Movellas.com. 3,885 people have already read my work since I started in August and my most popular story, 'Nightmares', has had 1,961 views and tons of positive feedback comments. Compare this with the amount of time I spend playing on video games and watching T.V, and I can honestly say I spend almost a third of my time reading and writing.
So am I the exception to the rule? No.
Ok, maybe I read more than most of my school friends but all my friends read. In fact they love reading and we regularly discuss books and give recommendations. They are definitely not embarrassed to read in front of our whole year group and they regularly do. A favourite with the 'popular' kids at the moment is the 'dictionary game', and played in front of the whole school this involves choosing a word from the dictionary, writing it on a piece of paper, and everyone else trying to guess what it means. Does this sound like an illiterate generation who are embarrassed to read or write? The truth is every teenager reads and there is no stigma attached to reading in public.
So you are probably wondering why you never see anyone with a 'good old paperback' if us teens read as much as I am saying? As technology moves on, the pace of life picks up, and convenience becomes the name of the game, e-books have become the obvious answer to our needs. We no longer have to go out shopping to buy a new book and we don't have to carry extra books with us every time we might get a chance to read. We can sit at home, choose our favourite from hundreds and hundreds of books, and download it to have with us whenever we want. This also tends to cost less than buying a paperback.
So where has this stereotype come from?
The National Literacy Trust survey in 2011 asked children aged 8-16 about their reading habits. The results looked rather dire with only 50% actually enjoying reading, but let's take a look closer. There were only 21,000 participants in this survey, a very small percentage of youth today, so how can it give a fair representation? Secondly it only goes up to sixteen and claims to speak for all 'youth'. So is it really fair to look at that survey and instantly assume that every teen on the planet is like that? No. But this is what happens all the time. Negative headline, after negative headline.
People are too quick to assume teenagers are a generation of T.V obsessed, video gaming illiterates. We're just bringing reading up to speed with the rest of the world, and surely sites like Movellas.com, where thousands and thousands publish and edit stories, proves that reading and writing still has its place in teen's lives today.
Follow Megan Holm on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@Movellas