In the 21st Century, society is consumed with the advancement of technology. The constant competition for the best and fastest of everything affects adolescents and teenagers most of all. This propensity to focus on technology has created a new breed of youth, people who are more versed in chatting and texting than in writing complete sentences and more knowledgeable in operating a remote control than reading a book. It’s this change toward technology that has created a drastic downswing in society’s literacy status.
Teachers have come to realize that students do not have nearly the same background or opportunities in reading than students thirty years ago did. More and more families require either both parents to work, or have families with only one parent working twice as much to maintain the stability of the home. Parents, busy as they may be, need to make small amounts of time to read to children; this could even take the form of a ritual before bedtime. Teachers need to provide opportunities for reading in class and supporting a school-wide initiative like “drop everything and read” (DEAR).
Government could more easily support this reading focus by providing longer hours that public libraries are open. Government also needs to realize that reading and writing skills are much more important than the ability to guess multiple choice answers on a standardized test.
Society has a lot of work to do in order to improve the literacy issues and this will not be easy task. However, with parents, teachers and the government all working together and with one another, rather than fighting against the current, increased literacy could be a positive outcome. The skills that begin at home for a child with the pleasure of having a book read to him/her before bedtime can set the stage for a world of imagination to open up, and that continued thrill of reading in the classroom can more easily carry over the one’s adult life. Reading is necessary to a strongly functioning society and technology should never take the place of reading.