Contrary to the common assumption that reading is on the wane, many young Estonians read every day and quite complicated texts, according Helin Puksand, a lecturer at the Institute of Educational Sciences at Tallinn University.
“There have always been some young people who read a lot and some who rarely read,” she told ETV's morning program today.
As background for her research, Puksand noted that while a PISA questionnaire found that 61 percent of 15-year-olds in Estonia admit to enjoying reading, a 2010 publication by Puksand found only
Puksand, who studied the reading habits of students in grades 9-11 a few years ago in a paper that continues to be cited, said the Harry Potter series and “Tõde ja õigus” (Truth and Justice, a classic novel by Anton Hansen Tammsaare) were named as the most read books, with 67 and about 44 mentions from over 900 respondents.
Tammsaare's oeuvre is compulsory reading in schools and the students admitted they would not pick it up themselves, but said the five-volume series is important for Estonians and they feel they should know it.
“Rehepapp” by Andrus Kivirähk came third and Puksand said Kivirähk is one of the favorite authors of students.
Of internationally known works, Lord of the Rings, "All Quiet on the Western Front," "Jane Eyre," "The Da Vinci Code," and "Crime and Punishment" were also named by 20-30 subjects each.
More than 900 students took part in the survey and more than 450 titles were named, which demonstrates that the young are not reading compulsory literature alone.
“Interest is the most important thing. If the students have a habit of reading, they will find their way to books themselves,” Puksand said.