Book Reading Choices of University Students in Jordan

Celine Kamhieh


It is widely believed that today’s university students are so enamoured of social media and other online attractions that book reading is no longer included in their leisure-time activities, particularly in the Arab world where smartphone penetration is high and interest in reading is perceived to be low. As teachers, we have an obligation to ensure our students are reading books of their own choosing. This study investigates the book-reading choices of a convenience sample of 100 male and female students attending a private university in Jordan to determine 1) what those choices are, 2) what patterns we can detect among their choices and 3) what language and format they prefer to read in. Results show that students look West for most of their book choices, at the expense of their own literature and authors, that their gendered choices reflect many of the patterns already established in the literature, that they prefer to read printed rather than digital books and that third-person narrator voice is most commonly used in the novels they read. The study also suggests that book choice may have less to do with book-based appeal factors (such as, author, protagonist, etc.,) and more to do with the overall reading experience, and that the narrator voice used in the novels students read can contribute to the richness and overall value of that reading experience.

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