I’ve seen a lot, the past few days, about the “I Hate Reading” Facebook page. The page is here; this Reddit thread brought it to the attention of the Internet at large; and Galleycat, Abe Books, and more Galleycat have blogged about it.
So, granted, seeing a Facebook page that says “I Hate Reading” isn’t the most heartening Internet experience. But but but.
Reading is hard for a lot of people. I wonder how many people who say, “I hate reading,” on Facebook are working through a learning difference, diagnosed or undiagnosed. I’m sure a lot of people who “hate reading” haven’t had access to great teachers or librarians. Teachers and fellow tutors, back me up: When a student says, “I hate X,” nine times out of ten they mean, “I think X is hard and I need some help.” If anything, let’s make this a conversation about whether schools are cutting the proverbial mustard.
Even if we’re not looking at kids who are being failed by their school systems, though, haters gonna hate. Especially when said haters are school-aged and are hating on a canonical school-type thing to hate. I have yet to meet a kid who doesn’t claim to hate school lunches, for example, and I can personally guarantee that the lunches these kids eat are one-thousand (or more) times better than the cafeteria food I endured, which was probably better than what the generation before me ate, etc. That doesn’t diminish the experience of hating school lunches, but there are certain things that a big chunk of school-age kids are always going to say they hate. “I hate lunch,” doesn’t mean, “I hate food,” or “I hate eating,” and kids who “hate” reading in school may well realize that what they actually hate is assigned reading, or reading novels, or reading novels by dead white guys, and go on to lives rich with other enjoyable reading experiences.
Finally: it’s Facebook. I mean, I’ve been asked to lend my meagre Facebook support to pages like, “I Bet This Picture of a Pickle Can Get More Likes Than Senator John McCain.” Just…for perspective.