The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

Young people need to read more, but not eBooks

Molly Parker
Molly’s illi for the traditional reading column

Our generation is just not reading enough physical literature. 

Around 55% of Gen Z reads every week, but 67% of them are reading on their phones, according to a Dec. 2022 Forbes article.

A little more than half of our generation is reading weekly, and that’s a good thing. Around 35% of Gen Z is also reading more than they did two years ago, showing an increase of reading among our generation over the years, according to a May 3 article from Book Riot

The fact that a larger percentage of them read on their phones is still troubling. 

We’ve all heard the same speech from our professors about how physical note-taking and reading is better for learning, and most of the time we ignore it.

But they’re right.

Digital reading and eBooks do not provide the tactile response that a physical book does, according to an April 2013 Scientific American article.  

Charles F. Briggs, a history professor at UVM, is a strong believer in reading physical books as opposed to digital ones.

“I believe there is a type of physiological aspect to reading a physical book compared to a digital one,” said Briggs. “Personally, I prefer to read a physical book because it is more beneficial and enriching for me.” 

In the course he teaches on early Europe, Professor Briggs encourages his students to take physical notes and read paper books rather than a PDF or eBook copy. 

“I believe it’s less distracting for students,” he said. “I like notebooks because they’re stupid, they don’t talk back to you and don’t give you ads.” 

“There’s been a collapse of reading,” Briggs said. “Which has been caused by both the rise of social media and the digital dependence from COVID-19.” 

He believes students should always be reading more—especially outside of the classroom.

“Social media has impoverished the minds of the younger generation,” Briggs said. “I don’t mean to sound like an old man, but the younger generation has moved away from reading due to social media.” 

Books are readily available to students at the library or the UVM bookstore; local bookstores and Barnes & Noble are just a walk or bus ride away. 

I try to read a little bit out of a physical book everyday, regardless of the genre or reason for it. 

I do my academic reading for the week or I’ll read a book for fun. Right now, I’m reading “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller, just for fun. 

But you don’t need to read one of the typical “classics.” Read whatever floats your boat. 

We’ve all fallen into the TikTok doom scroll after we get back from our last class of the day. Instead of scrolling for an hour straight, distract yourself in a more beneficial way. 

Right now you’re reading this online, so I urge you to turn off your phone and go pick up a book—any book—and start reading again. 

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Molly Parker
Molly Parker, Illustrations Editor
(She/her) Molly Parker is a senior studio art and anthropology double major from Hopedale, Mass. She had been a member of the illustrations team since the spring of 2020 before becoming editor of the section in the spring of 2023. Molly also creates prints and zines that she displays in the Burlington area as well as her hometown. Apart from illustrating and creating art, she loves watching horror movies, cooking and crocheting. Email [email protected] to get in contact with Molly.