Summertime and the reading is easy

July 19, 2005|by Julie Cook

Sorry, English teachers, but more than half the teens interviewed about their reading habits recently have failed to pick up a book so far this summer. But the news is not all bad: All but two of the dozen teenagers questioned do read magazines.

Jeremy Laski, 17, of Frederick, explains that he doesn't have time to read novels.

"My parents and teachers encourage me to read, but I don't pay any attention," he says.

You can, however, catch him glancing at a magazine, usually ESPN magazine. Most girls agree, but prefer teen magazines.

"I like Teen Vogue, Teen People, and Spin," says Kati Marshall, 16, of Williamsport. "It keeps me updated on fashion and what's in."

Alicia Domsky, 14, of Williamsport, says that she also likes to read teen magazines "... because the articles and topics pertain to me."


Other adolescents say they enjoy reading magazines about cars, guitars and gaming. They also read newspapers.

"I like to be in the know of what's going on," Lindsey Shafer, 18, of Chambersburg, says.

The majority of teenagers say that reading magazines and newspapers is relaxing and an enjoyable summer pastime.

So why not relax by reading a book? Students have been told again and again that the best way to increase their SAT scores is to read, so why is book-reading such a low priority? Teens say they prefer to be out with their friends and reading takes up too much time.

Kayla Mason, 16, of Hagerstown says, "I just think reading is boring. I get headaches from it!"

Teachers, if you're still reading this article, don't fret! Some teenagers still love to read.

"My parents don't have to bug me to read. They are usually telling me to stop!" says Kaitlyn Yoder, 14, of Smithsburg, who has read five novels this summer. Carolyn McKalies, 16, of Waynesboro says, "Reading is like a mental substitute for television. It's entertainment, but it stimulates your brain."

So if you are trying to grasp the concept of how a teenager can actually find enjoyment in reading a novel, you should know that not all books are as boring as, say, "Great Expectations."

"I love books that are really, really out there, like those by Anne Rice, who wrote 'Queen of the Damned' and 'Interview with the Vampire'," says Allisa Sanders, 18, of Hagerstown. "She gives you some really imaginative mental images to work with."

Kirby Taylor, 17, of Boonsboro, is a sucker for romance novels. "Right now I'm reading the latest Nicholas Sparks book," Taylor says. "I would definitely recommend his 'Message In a Bottle' to anyone."

Teen picks

If you plan to read a book this summer - hey, it's a thought! - here are books recommended by local teenagers:

  • "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis

  • "Tithe" by Holly Black

  • "1984" by George Orwel

  • "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" by Ann Brashares

  • "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky

  • "Rainbow Fly" by Stephen King

  • "The Giver" by Lois Lowry

  • "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon

  • "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton

  • "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson's best-sellers on July 8, 2005

    • "Eldest (Inheritance, Book 2)" by Christopher Paolini

    • "Magic Street" by Orson Scott Card

    • "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Jones

    • "The Chronicles of Narnia" by CS Lewis

    • "The Hummingbird's Daughter: A Novel" by Luis Alberto Urrea

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