Thursday, August 04, 2011

Not Reading List

A collection of links relevant to Project Soar:

Do students read books?

More children read websites than comics
The research found that the older the children are, the less likely they are to read. The 14- to 16-year-olds were 11 times more likely than the seven- to 11-year-olds to say they had not read a book in the last month.

We Can't Teach Students to Love Reading
"While virtually anyone who wants to do so can train his or her brain to the habits of long-form reading, in any given culture, few people will want to. And that's to be expected. Serious "deep attention" reading has always been and will always be a minority pursuit."

Pick a book, any book - THES 21 April 2011
"I remember distinctly my sense of shock when, as an inexperienced and starry-eyed lecturer, a seasoned colleague pronounced: "Students don't like reading." My incredulity was perhaps naive, but it was also healthy, for the day we no longer feel appalled by this statement is surely the day we become obsolete. Sadly, my colleague's claims were quickly confirmed during admissions interviews by prospective students who looked at me blankly when asked: "What do you read for pleasure?" Since then, only a handful of exceptional students have given me reason to revise this gloomy picture. Many, when discussing their leisure time, give responses involving the depressing words "Xbox" or "Nintendo Wii"."

Exams system risks 'damaging teenagers' reading ability'
"An education that does not provide the tools and the hunger to read beyond the narrow confines of a subject is, in the wider sense, no education at all."

Three in 10 UK children 'own no books'
"Research reveals startlingly high numbers of boys and girls have no books of their own, with worrying implications for their future prospects."

Pssst! Want something to read?
Voluntary “Reading Challenge” for history undergraduates.

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs, Oxford University Press 2011, ISBN 9780199747498
"Jacobs is essentially a free-range reader; he resists the veal-crate approach to reading, as did the brighter fellow students I remember from sixth form and university, who read where curiosity, not the bibliography, guided them. But organised reading has to go on, in what Jacobs rightly calls "an age of distraction", against the constant jabber of background noise, as we sit with our hands over our ears, grimly advancing where rightly hedonism should lead. We can easily identify these distractions: the "perfect storm of anti-attention", as Jacobs calls it in one of his book's many apt and amusing phrases. The internet, primarily, and all that stems from it - emails, social-networking sites, blogs, apps, iPads, iPhones, iPods and all the bleeping, tweeting, chirping and trilling that make us put down a book to see what we might be missing in the real world."

Online Book Clubs: Science Book Club
"Every month, lovers of science lit are invited to join Tim Radford in reading or re-reading a particular title, which is then thrown open to everyone for discussion".
Response rates very poor - average 60 comments (versus 9m visitors per day to site, comScore Total Universe report April 2011)

The Atlantic Launches Twitter-Based Book Club
1book140 is an expansion of a project begun a year ago at Wired, where he previously served as a contributing editor, called One Book, One Twitter. “What if everyone on Twitter read the same book at the same time and we formed one massive, international book club?”
Active, but a tiny fraction of the >200m users of Twitter.


  1. ...unless you made them do it and mark them, but then that defeats the whole object.

  2. It does, but is that worse than them not reading any books?
    Actually, I have a cunning plan...

  3. make them right x number of book reviews from the list as an assessed exercise? I remember doing something similar about 20 years ago in my degree (completely different subject) as a weekly assignment we have to write about something not covered by the module. oops I haven't pre-empted anything
    I hope.