Embarrassed to Read by Donalyn Miller

Nerdy Book Club

A recent National Literacy Trust report found that 17% of children surveyed would be embarrassed if their friends saw them reading.  According to a dictionary, “Embarrassment is an emotional state of intense discomfort with oneself, experienced upon having a socially unacceptable act or condition witnessed by or revealed to others.” Embarrassment is tied to our need for social acceptance. If you have ever chased a naked toddler, you know that children aren’t born with an understanding of socially acceptable behaviors and must learn them from people who understand society’s rules.

So, where do children learn that reading is embarrassing?

Children receive the message that reading a lot isn’t cool from adults. When parents don’t model reading, teachers consider reading a school job, and communities and schools close or defund libraries—we communicate to children that reading isn’t important.

In modern society, children’s future success depends on their acquisition of literacy skills…

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