Reading in the 21st Century

"A society that reads is a society that succeeds." If that's music to your ears, you'll love this new series of posts from Booktrack. Read on for their first installment.

Hey, CollegeXpressers! May we introduce to you our new blogger . . . Booktrack! They’re going to be talking about college academics and sharing their tips every month, so get excited! And get to know them a little better though this first post.

A society that reads is a society that succeeds. So much of human culture, history, and knowledge is based around reading. There are many wonderful things about modern technology. You can now download apps to help you do everything from looking up exotic recipes to tracking your morning run and monitoring your eating habits.

In fact, technology has so vastly improved areas like gaming, animation, and the Web that it’s become hard for other past-times to compete. Everyone knows they can look up almost anything they like on Google. Kids who haven’t yet learned to read know how to work iPads so they can watch their favorite videos on YouTube.

With all of these new and exciting forms of entertainment, it’s no wonder that good ol’ reading has become a little lost in the shuffle—despite for the first time in history being able to carry an entire library around in your pocket on your phone. Faced with the choice of downloading a game or watching videos on YouTube or reading a book, which requires effort and the power of the imagination, well, it suddenly seems like a boring, old-fashioned choice.

So how does reading engage a new audience in this modern, multimedia, and sensory world that we live in today?

Everyone knows reading improves comprehension, retention and overall learning, particularly for students. But that knowledge doesn’t necessarily lead to action. Fewer people than ever are reading books after high school and college. Young people ages 20–24 average only 10 minutes a day over weekends and holidays. The figure for the post-college years of 25–34 are even worse, dropping to eight minutes a day over weekends and holidays.

I believe the solution to getting students to love reading again is to work with technology, not fight against it. I’m the CEO of a company called Booktrack, and we add soundtracks to books.

Music and sound have long been known to help student learning, particularly for those who lean towards being auditory learners. The key to getting students to read more is to make reading an enjoyable past-time again. It’s not about creating a wholly interactive experience by adding a bunch of distractions like mini games or YouTube videos. We’ve actually conducted two independent studies by New York University and the University of Auckland that show students who read with a soundtrack not only read longer, but express more enjoyment and show instant improvement in reading comprehension and engagement.

So that’s Booktrack’s story. Stay tuned for more of their insights next month! In the mean time, how much do you read—and how much do you read for fun? Do you ever read with music in the background?

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About Paul Cameron

Paul Cameron is the CEO and Founder of Booktrack, a company that synchronizes movie-style soundtracks to eBooks.


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