Books vs. Guitar Hero

January 27, 2009 1 min read

If you judged NYC Educator’s literature students solely by the numbers, you’d be pretty impressed with his teaching. They read the books they’re assigned, they pass the tests, and 90 percent of them are getting credit for it. NYC Educator himself is disappointed, however. His students do the work, he says, but they hate reading, something he found out after candidly asking them if they enjoyed an assigned book.

No one likes books," ventured one kid, unmindful of the conversation that would ensue.
People love books," I said. "Why do you think every town has a library? Why are those gigantic Barnes and Noble stores in the malls?"
Only old people like books," said a young woman, with imprudent candor.
I don't remember how I responded to that, as designated representative for old people everywhere. I'm certain, though, it was not altogether favorable, because she said, "That's because you never had anything to do back then. We have computers and video games. We have Guitar Hero."

NYC Educator hasn’t given up hope for his students, but he’s discouraged by the competition reading faces in computers and video games.

I've got another few months to fool them into thinking reading is worthwhile. It's getting tougher to compete with the new toys, though, which seem to get better each year.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.