America done reading.

Parents, take up your books, teach your children well.  The bad news:

Americans are reading less and their reading proficiency is declining at troubling rates, according to a report that the National Endowment for the Arts will issue today.
The trend is particularly strong among older teens and young adults,
and if it is not reversed, the NEA report suggests, it will have a
profound negative effect on the nation’s economic and civic future…

The story the numbers tell, Gioia said, can be summed up in about four sentences:

"We
are doing a better job of teaching kids to read in elementary school.
But once they enter adolescence, they fall victim to a general culture
which does not encourage or reinforce reading. Because these people
then read less, they read less well. Because they read less well, they
do more poorly in school, in the job market and in civic life."…

"This is not a study about literary reading," Gioia said. It’s a study about reading of any
sort and "what the consequences of doing it well or doing it badly
are." In an increasingly competitive world, the consequences of doing
it badly include "economic decline."…

"What we’re trying to do is say: These are the facts. This is a
framework to understand the issues. Let’s talk about it," Gioia said.
And the key question is: What are the consequences if America becomes
"a nation in which reading is a minority activity?"

Consequences?  None!  We’re America!   

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2 thoughts on “America done reading.

  1. Hi Matthew:
    The problem rests in our inability to pass on the love of reading literature to our children. Perhaps its because when kids get to high school they are forced to read the world’s greatest, but most challenging books — Dickens, Shakespeare, etc…

    Isn’t that like asking Little Johnny to try and hit Roger Clemens on his first day of learning to play baseball?

    Here’s a better solution:

    http://darkpartyreview.blogspot.com/2007/11/essay-fixing-our-reading-problem.html

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