Teen Writers Bloc

A Blog by the New School Writing for Children MFA Class of 2012

Reading Bad for Kids, New Study Shows

Posted by Mary G. Thompson On April - 1 - 2013

ID 10053661 300x199 Reading Bad for Kids, New Study ShowsScientists at the National Institutes of Health have published the results of a groundbreaking longitudinal study in this month’s Journal of Psychology and Education. According the study, which followed six thousand children from ages seven through thirty-five, reading reduces both educational and career outcomes over a person’s lifetime and is linked with an increase in criminal behavior. The scientists measured the amount of reading done by the children using self-reports and parental reports as well as by monitoring the children’s library card usage. The results show that library use is particularly pernicious—there was a direct correlation between the number of books checked out per year at ages seven through fourteen and the number of arrests suffered by the children as adults. One in five of the heaviest readers (one hundred or more books per year) failed to graduate from high school, while those who read the least (zero to five books) were the most likely to have a graduate degree. Readers were also more likely to be divorced and less likely to have health insurance. Teen Writers Bloc spoke with Dr. Ralph Schumaker, the lead author of the study.

“Some people might find the results surprising,” said Dr. Schumaker, “but we’ve always known that reading impedes children’s development of social skills. Since success in life is based on likeability and not intelligence, we can expect to see some disadvantages. Readers get frustrated by their inability to connect with their TV-watching peers, and they retreat into lives of vice and crime.” Dr. Schumaker then described the life of one study participant, Paul Fletcher, who read two hundred books per year as a child and is now incarcerated in Federal prison. “His wife left him for a normal TV-watcher, and he lost it and went on a bank robbery spree,” said Dr. Schumaker. “He wore a mask with giant glasses painted on it. I guess he was making some kind of statement, but you know, it’s sad. If he had just read fewer books, he could be making a good living.”

The study also revealed that the heaviest readers tended to get pooped on by birds more regularly than non-readers, but the authors note that causation in that case has not been proved.

What does this mean for children’s authors like the members of Teen Writers Bloc? “We’re all in shock,” said Teen Writers Bloc member Alyson Gerber. “We love writing books, but we don’t want to be responsible for bank robbery or bird poop. We’re going to have to think long and hard about what to do now.”

What do you think? Should we stop writing children’s books and burn our library cards? Tell us in the comments!

Photo credit: Phaitoon

pixel Reading Bad for Kids, New Study Shows
//-->

2 Responses to “Reading Bad for Kids, New Study Shows”

  1. Julia Byers says:

    Great April Fool’s Day prank! :D

  2. Bob says:

    What a ridiculous article, clearly designed as an April Fools Prank, to lift blog reader hits and to create a little sensationalism.
    Unfortunately, despite the lack of any substantial evidence or real studies, and in spite of the fact that it may have been intended as an April Fools Joke, some people (those who do not read and those who do not want to read) will finally have something to latch onto in order to justify their TV watching and lack of personal growth.
    They will copy/paste the article to friends (without the publishing date), relatives and neighbors in an effort to prove that their reluctance to read is scientifically justified.
    It has already started appearing on Facebook “shares” as the real-thing.
    Very sad:-(

Leave a Reply

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: