What good is the Bard to book-shunning boys?

From The Guardian:

Shakespeare460x276_2 In order to get his own teenager reading Shakespeare, Rankin gave him graphic novel versions. And, hallelujah, the boy now wants to go and see a play. As I brushed my teeth, all I could think was, well, why not just take him to see a performance in the first place? Why are we obsessed with “reading” Shakespeare, especially since he wrote, er, plays? As any English undergraduate knows, Shakespeare’s plays are meant to be seen on stage, not on the page. So why do commentators rejoice when a teenager reads Shakespeare? Do we really believe that teenagers should be reading scripts, albeit cultural masterpieces?

So, although I wouldn’t dream of suggesting to my 12-year-old nephew that he might like to spend the weekend with Coriolanus, I would take him to a performance of it. There are probably some very precocious children who read scripts for pleasure but how many of those in a debate about reading were actually reading Shakespeare between 11 and 14? I don’t remember what, or who, I was reading at that age but it doesn’t really matter: it was the experience of lying on the sofa with a book that was important, not the titles.

And that’s what the likes of those in this debate should be focusing on: not what boys are reading but why they should be. How can we make the slow, steady experience of reading a book desirable to a boy bombarded, if he’s lucky, with so many other options, from the newest, such as iPods and the internet, to the stalwarts of TV and video games? That is the challenge and not one confined to teenagers, since adults are themselves afflicted by too much choice and decreasing attention spans.

More here.