The Aliterate Generation… Say it isn’t so!


Wait a minute… You can read, but you just choose not to?

I’m taking Fundamentals of Media at my college, a class based on learning about how media works and changes. Recently, we learned about the concept of aliteracy, which is, essentially, being able to read but choosing not to. As a writer, this is bad news.

How can we as writers continue to progress if the generations are turning against reading? Furthermore, how can anyone not want to read? reading allows us to explore and delve into other worlds, universes, and adventures that would otherwise be impossible to access.

Maybe it’s because I am a reader and a writer that this just seems completely ludicrous. I was never really an avid reader when I was younger. But, ever since I became very serious about my writing, I’ve become very serious about reading. I mean, reading provides inspiration, and is basically a tutorial on how to write well. You read a book that you really like, and you strive to emulate that author’s writing style, but keep your own voice present to make it unique. Without reading, this could be near impossible.

Now, I know that people who love reading now won’t stop. But, what happens if that generation goes away entirely? The aliterate generation will never know what it’s like to experience such a thing as reading. For me, when I finish a great book I feel accomplished. Partly because I almost feel like I was on the adventure with the characters. I almost feel a sense of success and victory, as if I helped to accomplish the near-herculean tasks that take place in these great works of fiction. I don’t understand how those who choose not to read can not want to experience such a thing. Sure, they can go see the movie, but as we all know, more often than not the movies are never as good as the books. Let’s face it, you simply can’t fit every plot point of a book into a 2.5 – 3 hour movie.

So, I say to those who choose the path of aliteracy: Don’t miss out on the amazing opportunity that is reading. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore and go on these adventures that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to embark on. Not only are you doing yourself a favor, but you’re keeping us writers in business!

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9 thoughts on “The Aliterate Generation… Say it isn’t so!

  1. And yet this generation more than perhaps ever before communicates through the written word – through texts, emails, BBMs, messenger and… blogs. I wouldn’t put your keyboard away just yet – I’m still reading!

  2. This is so true! I’m very guilty of just a little elbow shine then passing it on through instead of deep reading and fixing. Excellent blog! Thanks for posting a link on G+ where folks could find you!

  3. This is very true, and also very sad. Like you, when I decided to take my writing seriously out came my reading side in full throttle. I did always like to read but not the way I am now. As soon as I finish a book – bang, onto the next one. Its great. I love it. Am trying to encourage my son to pick up a book. He’s 8 and currently only interested in comics. Not a bad thing I guess (they’re cool comics) but I’m drumming it into him that books are one of the most important resources of life.
    Will reblog this on my blog Poeta Officium. Great post. Thanks 🙂

    • Comic books are very cool! I’m quite partial to the general superheros myself! When I have children and they are able to read I’d like to come up with a weekly reading goal for them to help encourage them.

  4. An excellent point. Having struggled with my son as he learns to read I cannot tell you how relieved I was when he selected a book in a bookstore without prompting and then spent the rest of the trip reading it on his own. Honestly as a writer, reader and lover of books I could have wept.

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