Virtually all young people in the U.S. play video games, according to a recent Pew Internet study, but fewer and fewer seem to be reading books for fun. As a recent study from the National Endowment for the Arts reports, less than one third of thirteen-year-olds are daily readers.
There are a variety of approaches to reversing this phenomenon, and an article in Sunday’s New York Times explores a fairly recent one: the coupling of books with video games. PJ Haarsma, an author who wrote a science fiction novel for pre-teens and designed an online game to go along with it, is quoted as saying that this approach "brings the book into [a young reader’s] world, as opposed to going the other way around."
The article says that teachers and literacy experts worry that such connections might encourage skipping the text to get to the game, but authors like Haarsma are making that difficult to do–to get to the next level of his game, you need information from within the book. And some point out that reading the instruction manual counts and might even encourage further delving into the world of the written word.