To the Editor:
Your article “Dark Themes in Books Get Students Reading” (April 4, 2007) was intriguing. But today’s young adults’ lack of interest in reading runs deeper than a lack of appealing themes in classic literature. It represents the death of imagination.
Imaginations shrivel and die as young people become immersed in screen technology. They have no reason to cultivate an imagination, because sounds and images flood their consciousness every day of their lives. The highest reading level—where you are no longer decoding words but are creating worlds, dreams, sights, sounds, and smells in your own mind as you meet the mind of the author—is impossible to attain without the free-flowing current of a powerful imagination.
I am an early-childhood educator, and I see all the little deaths that screen time brings to my students’ imaginations. Our nation’s most valuable resource is slowly, silently streaming out of the minds of our children.
A version of this article appeared in the May 16, 2007 edition of Education Week as Disinterest in Reading, Death of the Imagination