Surge in Teen Reading Levels Due to Social Media

The trending TikTok hashtag, “#BookTok,” leads to a rise in reading levels among teens


Hailey Davies

The Target located in Hampton Village in Saint Louis features a display of novels popular with the trending hashtag “#BookTok.”

Hailey Davies, Reporter

With increasing technology on the rise, it’s very common for humans to get tangled up in social media rather than the real world. Children would rather watch TV or play video games than be outside. Teens would rather scroll for hours than read a book. For the older generation, technology goes both ways on being beneficial and toxic.

With TikTok being one of the top global apps in 2022, it’s understandable how enjoyable this social media platform can be. TikTok is the most popular social media among teens today. TikTok is an app that consists of 15 seconds, 1 minute, or 3 minute videos on a “for you page” featuring videos you are interested in. The app has an algorithm to feature videos that the viewer enjoys and interacts with. This makes it very easy to get pulled in for minutes or hours on end, leaving our youth idolizing a public figure rather than taking the time to sit down and destress with a book.

Reading levels among teens have gone down tremendously in the past years due to social media. Teens today would rather interact with friends or see what a public figure is doing online than sit down to read a book. Thankfully for our youth, a trending hashtag on TikTok labeled “#BookTok” is on the rise. People around the world are sharing their favorite books and what makes them great. Award winning author Colleen Hoover’s books are on the rise, with the TikTok audience being labeled “TikTok’s favorite writer.” Colleen Hoover’s books offer a toxic romance story, full of heartbreaking love and gripping twists.

I used to hate reading and could never sit down and concentrate on a book until I started reading Colleen Hoover and got hooked instantly.

— Jersey Goodall (11)

Students all over the country are starting to find a love for books all over again due to the distraction that once took them away from reading.

“I used to hate reading and could never sit down and concentrate on a book until I started reading Colleen Hoover and got hooked instantly,” junior Jersey Goodall said.

Colleen Hoover’s most popular book “It Ends With Us” is the novel that takes the majority of the credit for her popularity. This book became a No. 1 “New York Times” bestseller, a TikTok sensation with over one billion tags, and a Goodreads award-winning book that has been reviewed by more than one million readers.

“I am a fan of anything that promotes reading, so I’m pro #BookTok,” library media specialist Ms. Oliva said. “I think it’s great that teens are seeking out book recs on social media and then coming to us to request these books or ask for them to be added to our collection.”

BookTok became on the rise during the Covid-19 quarantine, as influencers shared their favorite books while stuck at home. In just two years from 2019 to 2021, the amount of books purchased raised by 74 million physical books. The hashtag #BookTok currently has 80.8 billion views and is continuing to grow daily.

“I’m thrilled that TikTok is encouraging more students to read and identify books they’d be interested in reading. It’s a win for them and us,” Oliva said.