When I was young I remember hiding under my covers (just once in a while), torch in hand, finishing off that book that just couldn't be left alone. It wasn't that my parents didn't like me reading, they just rather I went to bed when I was supposed to.
I often wonder whether any kids still do this nowadays. Or is it more likely that secret reading will be secret from their peers because its considered 'uncool'? Are there some young people out there who don't admit to their parents that they read because that would made them feel too "daggy". Are these even words that they would understand, or relate to anymore?
Why is reading not always appreciated by young people anyway? For me it was almost like a way of exploring new worlds from the comfort of my own bedroom. But I guess that there are so many more visual ways of doing that now, through the internet or computer games as well as movies, that some might consider books redundant in that department.
And then there's the 'problem' that reading is so pushed at primary school. Of course it's great to make sure everyone can read (and write), but if you're always reading boring reading scheme books then you're not going to understand the attraction of reading. Of course, many schools also balance this with exciting story-time books, and encouraging reading at home with parents/carers. But, if the focus is simply on vocabularly and phonics, then this can easily be lost (especially if reading at home is neglected as well).
Then children get to secondary school and books can easily become work. In English books are constantly analysed and a poor reader could easily spend all their time just looking at material set in class. A good reader is often envied by their peers and considered a swat. Under these conditions, how many people would want to admit that they love reading?
I know that not all schools are like those I've mentioned (there are lots of great reading-friendly ones), and not all young people hate or hide their reading, but sadly the picture I've created seems to be the case for far too many. I guess my question is what, if anything, has changed and why?