Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Sigh. Another one bites the dust.

Every Friday afternoon for most of my early elementary school experience, I received a copy of The Weekly Reader. Long before I read newspapers for updates on current events, the Weekly Reader alerted me to news in age-appropriate language.

In fact, the Weekly Reader was the first “newspaper” for me and millions of other students nationwide.

But like many things from our childhoods, the Weekly Reader is no more. It stopped printing this week.

While I don’t want to live in the past, I mourn the passing of an institution. Did it die on a digital altar, its few pages not dynamic enough to hold the attention of children mesmerized by flashing lights and split-second timing?

Today, even adults are addicted to sound bites and 140-character posts. So how can we expect children to be satisfied with getting their news from a newspaper – albeit a kid-friendly one?

And what does this signify for the newspaper industry? Will these children grow up to seek news offered in those same sound bites and “tweets”? Will they become adults who prefer the pithy quotes of spin doctors instead of reading news accounts in full, digesting the facts, and forming educated opinions?

But it doesn’t stop at the news. The sad truth is that people who want their news in sound bites often become Christians who avoid in-depth Bible study. It’s too hard. It takes too much time. We’d rather hear sound bites from a pastor than dig into God’s Word for ourselves. The worst part is that we miss out on the joy of mining for treasure and discovering gems to apply to our lives – gems that are all the more precious because of the effort we put into their discovery.

The world is continuously changing, and the death of the Weekly Reader is a small event in the grand scheme of things…or is it?

What do you think?

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