Libby Dunne, Managing Editor

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Thirty years ago, today’s modern technology was nonexistent. Without the Internet, Facebook and Twitter, books were some of the most popular pastimes. Nowadays, with social media taking over much of teens’ free time, they are reading much less.

“According to government studies, since 1984, the percentage of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers went down from 70 percent to 53 percent, and the percent of 17-year-olds who are weekly readers went from 64 percent to 40 percent,” according to School Library Journal.

These numbers are startling, and make it obvious that there has been a significant drop in how often students read. There is a large gap of reading ability between different races and genders due to lack of reading as children. “Only 18 percent of black and 20 percent of Hispanic fourth graders are rated as ‘proficient’ in reading, compared with 46 percent of whites. The size of this ‘proficiency gap’ has been largely unchanged over the past two decades. Girls read for pleasure for an average of 10 minutes more per day than boys, a gap that starts with young children and persists in the teenage years, “ School Library Journal noted.

The lack of reading as a child is directly contributing to a lack of an ability to read as a teen and an adult. Teens today did not grow up reading books, so they have no desire to read for pleasure now.

“A new study shows that kids read for fun less and less as they get older, with 45% of 17-year-olds saying they read by choice only once or twice a year,” Time magazine said.

Teenagers’ time is being taken over by social media, as many teenagers would rather scroll through their Instagram feed than start a new book. In addition, school is becoming much more demanding and teens today don’t have enough free time to read.

In a poll on mhsmirador.com, out of 67 total responses, 45% of students say they never read print newspapers, 36% say they read print newspapers once or twice a week, and only 19% of students responded that they read print newspapers more than three times a week. For an esteemed and prestigious high school, not even Miramonte is immune to this non-reading phenomenon.

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