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One in six UK children are failing to read even one book per month

The internet has undoubtedly changed the way many people live their lives by offering information and convenience at rapid speeds, and new studies prove that these lifestyle changes are becoming more ingrained than ever -- especially in those who were born using it.

For instance, Beloit College, which is located in Wisconsin, released its annual Mindset List yesterday to remind teachers that college freshman born in the early 1990's see the world in a different way. The list, which states that the Web is now older than incoming freshman, offers 75 references as to how these college freshman think. For example, they think of the internet retailer when hearing the word "Amazon" instead of the South American river. Other examples, which are likely attributed to a generation gap rather than the internet, are that incoming freshman do not even know what the OJ Simpson murder trial and subsequent acquittal was about.

"Hmm, I know there was some scandal about him," said Alex Keesey, 18, a freshman at Beloit College. "I think it was robbery or murder, maybe both."

Now, a new survey further proves how the internet has changed the minds of those growing up with it. The new poll shows that UK youngsters born in the age of the internet are reading websites like Facebook and Twitter more than they're reading books.

The survey, which was conducted by the British charity National Literacy Trust, consisted of 18,141 children from ages eight to 17. It found that one in six children are failing to read even one book per month.

Instead, UK children are ditching literature for social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. According to the survey, the older end of the ages eight to 17 spectrum were significantly more likely to have not read a book in the past month than the younger children.

In response to these findings, Secretary for Education Michael Gove has proposed the challenge that all children at age 11 should read 50 books per year.

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RE: Meh
By inighthawki on 8/24/2011 3:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
You don't see this because you don't read nor have ever. I can guarantee you that many of those in NASA and beyond have been inspired by the likes of Asimov, Heinlen, Clarke and more. I wouldn't say all, but I would say that more than a minute number of them received some form of inspiration from these fictional works.

Firstly, I have not said I have NEVER read a book. I said I have never willingly chosen to do so for recreational purposes. Either way, that is irrelevant.

Secondly, and again I stress, fiction (or even science fiction) is not by any means restricted to reading. There are many forms of entertainment beyond reading that can inspire people. Images, movies/TV, music, or even just gazing into the night sky is inspiration for a lot of people who work at places like NASA. In fact, I would say that TV shows like star trek have far more of an impact than most science fiction books.

So again, I ask, why do you think that I need to READ to be able to be inspired by something, or to be creative?

RE: Meh
By ClownPuncher on 8/24/2011 3:59:39 PM , Rating: 3
Who said there was a need to read for inspiration?

You're very one track, perhaps reading a book and understanding alternate perspectives would alleviate that.

RE: Meh
By inighthawki on 8/24/2011 4:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I was not specific enough as to what I was referring to, and that is my fault, I apologize. I was responding the the first sentence in the text I quoted where he implies that I don't see a relationship between science fiction and advancements in technology because I do not read, and my point was that it has nothing to do with reading at all.

I apologize since I did not make it clear. I was not trying to imply that a person must read to have inspiration. In fact quite the opposite, when I tried to state that there were many other forms of inspiration, naming other kinds of media as some.

RE: Meh
By ClownPuncher on 8/24/2011 4:14:00 PM , Rating: 2
They are all *potential* points of inspiration. We never know when or how we will be inspired until it happens.

RE: Meh
By inighthawki on 8/24/2011 4:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
I agree entirely, and part of my point is that the alternative activities I do in the time I don't spend reading may be an equal opportunity for inspiration, and that making the choice to not read does not change this. There are just things that I find more fun and more motivating than reading, I just don't understand why other people have an issue with that.

RE: Meh
By ClownPuncher on 8/24/2011 4:31:15 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I don't care if you like reading or not. Personally, I find it to be very enjoyable. To me, reading fiction or philosophy helps me grasp the complexities of human communication and expression. A great writer can express complex and abstract ideas in ways you may not have considered, which in turn, can give you the tools to do the same.

A teacher can teach you the rules of language, but it is up to the individual to temper his or her own style of communication or expression. A good way to do that is to expose yourself to as many writing styles as you can stand.

RE: Meh
By MrBlastman on 8/24/2011 5:04:20 PM , Rating: 2
So again, I ask, why do you think that I need to READ to be able to be inspired by something, or to be creative?

You don't need to read to be inspired, I never said that. I did say though that it is an excellent pathway for inspiration though and has been for many people.

You mention that you prefer images, television, music etc. All of these mediums are great avenues. They have only one flaw though, however minute you might view it. This avenue is something the others do not directly share with exception only to perhaps art (photographs, paintings and so on.)

This weakness is known as interpretation through imagination. When you look at a fine piece of art, you look at it how your own mind wants to see it. Yes, how you want to view it. Two people can look at a piece of art and view it differently--sometimes radically so. The artist can try, on the other hand, to guide your eye through the use of color, composition, form etc., to try and influence how you see the work but in the end, your brain has to ultimately interpret it.

When you hear music with lyrics (Classical would be more akin to art as well as some electronica such as Jarre or Schulze), or watch a movie or television show--there is a script and plot of course but in the end, what you see is the vision of the director, producer and editor. You may discuss and debate it but ultimately it is what is printed on that film or said through those lyrics. Lyrical music is not quite as limited as film, though either, but is not quite as free a medium as non-lyrical.

So, with all that said, we get back to reading fiction--not really non-fiction. Non-fiction is just that, factual information. Interpretation can be had through non-fiction by applying the material to other material you read which is itself factual material. Fictional material, on the other hand, allows the writer to paint on your mental canvas--your own mental canvas. They supply the pain and your mind supplies the brush and combined, they stroke upon it into your imagination an invisioning of what you are reading.

Thus, inspiration may be yearned from it. The author can potentially prompt your mind to drift off into a new avenue, even subconsciously or even emotionally which could drive you perpendicular to your typical thought, or likewise alternately parallel to your reasoning with a slightly different twist on it. The written stroke of this colloquial plume of insight can take you to vastly new plains if you allow the doors open wide enough.

Ulimately though, you don't have to read to be inspired. I just find it tragic that so many dismiss it without ever giving it a chance and truly miss an art that can be savoured in a unique way.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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