Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Attention spans

Attention spans. Now there is something I know a little about. Having raised my three girls, I can remember times where I struggled to grab and then hold their attention either for school work or chores or what not. "Stay on task" was something not easily done. Yet my middle girl would sit in the middle of the chaos with a book in her hand, completely absorbed and oblivious to anything around her. A book.

So when I saw another blog making comments about today's youth not being interested in books due to addictions to cell phones, Ipads, email, facebook, twitter and the like, I'm afraid I can't fully agree. I've been immersed in the younger crowd with my kids, their friends, and my nieces and nephews. What impresses me is the number of kids nowadays who love books.

As my middle daughter, and now my youngest say, books can take you somewhere nothing else can. I had a technology addict (my oldest), but even she is more interested in living life now. The arrival of technology for books (Kindle, Nook etc) has blended the two, but I still hear from so many how reading a book in actual print is so much better.

Being an author and an editor, I've known there is a difference between reading on screen and reading print for me, at least. Recently I read an article bringing up the question of how our brains take in print words differently than electronic ones. No studies that I know of are complete on the actual differences, but there are many opinions on the subject. Read this article from The Chronicles of Higher Education here  just to get you started.

For me, growing up in the '80s, and raising my girls through the 90s and 2000s, I'm seeing a trend that encourages kids to read. Some won't, we can't all love books, but in my opinion, the percentage of those who know the value of a good, print book has gone up from when I was a kid. Electronic for some does the same. Either way, we all still love a good story to whisk us away and give us an escape like nothing else can. That, I hope, will never change.

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