Books still cool for teens
Kalamunda Senior High School students Tyra Fletcher, Dylan Chopin and Briony Bray. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

Despite the distractions of technology and social media, books are still "cool" with WA teens, research has found.

But more should be done to encourage young people to read, according to a study by Edith Cowan University researcher and former English teacher Margaret Merga.

Mrs Merga interviewed 520 Year 8 and 10 students in WA to investigate attitudes towards reading.

Students were asked to rank their agreement with the statement "it is not cool to read books", with 60 per cent disagreeing and only 9 per cent agreeing.

Mrs Merga said this suggested that reading was socially acceptable among teenagers.

"Despite what we hear and read, that books are no longer relevant, they are still relevant for the younger generation and can be used as a powerful tool to increase literacy levels as well as engaging, informing and entertaining," she said.

She said peers, parents and schools could play a greater role in boosting the social capital of books. The study found that teens whose friends had a positive attitude to book reading were more likely to be readers.

Kalamunda Senior High School has had improved NAPLAN results for reading, which associate principal David Brady said was thanks to a specialised learning centre for literacy.

"We've been identifying students at risk through an early identification process while students are in primary school," Mr Brady said.

"It is important to give these students the skills to read and grow their interest in reading."

The West Australian

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