I read something not too long ago on the Requires Only That You Hate blog about this topic that actually changed my opinion on the matter. https://requireshate...essarily-worth/
I just unquestioningly thought, "It's always good for kids to read more. It makes them smarter and more imaginative, and it's disappointing when people tell me they don't read books." But after reading that, I found myself agreeing with a lot of what she said.
Younger people are going to be reading stuff like Harry Potter, Dragonlance, or any of the many young adult books that have recently gained a lot of attention due to being turned into films. I have nothing against people liking those things, but I don't think the people reading them have gained anything over the people who don't read at all. I know the argument is "reading those books will be a transition to reading better books," but what does that really accomplish? Why does reading a book carry the connotations of being wiser than someone who'd rather just watch a movie?
I started out reading Dragonlance as a kid, and honestly haven't strayed too far from fantasy. Sure, my book cases are dotted with a few books like The Road, or Brave New World, but mostly it's gritty monsters and magic stuff. The only thing I'd say reading has done for me is enlarge my vocabulary by exposing me to new words, and I can't even say if that's some huge benefit to me in life either.
I wouldn't say books that have stuck with me have done something other mediums can't. So I don't think kids who don't read are deprived of anything. There are thought provoking tv shows, songs, and everything else out there. Many people will never experience them though, and will go right for the reality show or new T-Pain song. It's the same with books. So why exalt someone who gets cheap entertainment from a book over someone who gets it from tv?