Reading and children
What kinds of book are most popular with children in your country? Why do you think that is?
I think the most popular kind of books with children in China is comics. Statistics and my person experience with children bring me to this conclusion. First of all, if you bother to check the top sellers in terms of books, you will find comics for children permanent residents in those lists. As a comparison, those books telling fairytales and legends seem a little weak in terms of effect on children. Also, whenever I find some children gazing at their smart phone or tablets or reading a paper back book, they are mostly reading comics. It has become a great challenge to find kids focusing on words instead of pictures. Based on these two evidences, I believe comics are most children’s favorite in China.
Why do you think some children do not read books very often?
Well, for this issue, I think the shift of lifestyle is first and foremost to blame. In the online era, we, no matter adults or children have tens of alternatives to do in our spare time and reading a book is one of the most attention-intense among them. Why not go surf the Internet using your smart phone or tablet for some easy-to-understand stuff with beautiful pictures explaining everything to you, or some other rich media requiring no literacy. We grownups still struggle to escape from such grasp, needless to say the children.
How do you think children can be encouraged to read more?
Before we dive into the question, I think I need to make it clear that the children today have been reading far more than we expect. Read Weibo posts, WeChat messages, endless news feeds and many other kinds of media. They are avid readers that older people cannot match with. What grownups are trying to do in this scenario is to shift their focus of reading from those “light” material back to some old-school, serious and provoking thoughts created by real thinkers. Upon this problem I hold a pessimistic opinion. What we can hope for is nothing but luck which can bring a few on them to what grownups want them to read.