Student Reading at HBHS


Mike Fox and Christine Heaton pose at the end of the school library aisle. Fox is holding a handful of classic novels while Heaton stands at the end of her beloved bookcase. “What’s the difference between reading a magazine and article posts on Facebook?” said Heaton.

Harry Bates and Kaleigh Whalen

Why are students not reading as much as they used to? With the new era of technology at students’ fingertips across the nation, teachers tend to think students are only reading via social media. New technology has been engraved into generation Z’s minds without even realizing it. With communication, news, and social media apps at the fingertips of anyone, students are consuming more information than ever before. With every text a student sends and every Snapchat ad students tap through, they are reading.

Teachers believe reading is still a necessity in today’s education system. Renowned Hollis-Brookline High School English teacher, Mike Fox, believes that students aren’t reading traditional literature as often. “There are kids that read, but not hard books and classics. Kids have a tough time warming up to [them]. It’s reading the hard books and classics, [and being] willing to put yourself in a challenging position [that the students don’t enjoy].” Reading techniques have changed over the years, but in some ways they have stayed the same.“I am also not convinced that there was ever a time people were reading the classics,” said Fox.

Reading has many similarities to technologies today than people would think. The way people think of video games is fairly similar to the way reading works. “The challenges of a video game is getting from one level to the next. Literature is the same way; you have to keep reading to level up,” said Fox. The comparison of literature to video games makes sense: in order to continue reading, the mind should adjust to another level of knowledge, and the same goes for video games.

Fox is a frequent visitor of Toadstool Bookstore in Milford, New Hampshire. The bookstore employees have told Fox that they have noticed a decrease in new customers purchasing books, but the frequent patrons are buying more books than ever. To them, this shows that the reading generation is dying out.

“I don’t think you [generation z] are reading less. You’re consuming more information than any other generation before you,” said Christine Heaton, the Hollis Brookline High School Librarian. She believes students are reading and writing more due to the accessibility our generation holds with new communication technology. She pointed out that years ago, the only way people could communicate with each other was in-person or through the mail. However, now the convenience to talk to someone across town, or even across the globe, and receive a response within seconds is faster, easier, and more convenient.

“Human nature is that you procrastinate when you are forced to read something, including a book,” said Heaton. “I think it’s cooler at Hollis Brookline to say you don’t read,” said Heaton. She thinks students are reading a ton from social media to paperbacks, but also thinks that the student environment at HBHS looks down upon reading. Heaton believes that school should be an environment where reading is encouraged, not only for a grade. She referenced that schools all across New England, specifically Nashua North High School, display what each teacher is currently reading outside of their classrooms. Heaton thinks the displays are brilliant, and Hollis Brookline would be the perfect place for them.

“I like reading because it lets me experience another person’s story and it takes me out of my own when I’m reading,” said Paige Kipp 20’, a student who enjoys reading in her free time. She hypothesized that other students do not enjoy reading as much because “it’s a time and effort thing,” said Kipp.

The classic reading culture is fading away, and being taken over by online articles and social media, which kids are more interested in these days. Like everything now, reading is having its own renovation, and a new style of reading is taking off.