Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Follow-up to Reading at Risk Links Declines in Reading with Poorer Academic and Social Outcomes

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently announced the release of To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence, a new and comprehensive analysis of reading patterns in the United States. This report gathers statistics from more than 40 studies on the reading habits and skills of children, teenagers, and adults. The conclusions are grim. There have been severe declines in voluntary reading and reading test scores, all pointing to serious consequences for American society.

The complete Report as well as the Executive Summary may be downloaded.

Short extract from the Executive Summary:

In 2004, theNational Endowment for the Arts published Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. This detailed study showed that Americans in almost every demographic group were reading fiction, poetry, and drama—and books in general—at significantly lower rates than 10 or 20 years earlier. The declines were steepest among young adults.

More recent findings attest to the diminished role of voluntary reading in American life. These new statistics come from a variety of reliable sources, including large, nationally representative studies conducted by other federal agencies. Brought together here for the first time, the data prompt three unsettling conclusions:

• Americans are spending less time reading.

• Reading comprehension skills are eroding.

• These declines have serious civic, social, cultural, and economic implications.

1 comment:

Corinne E. said...

I use my computer almost daily. However, about two years ago, I realized two things about it: browsing is an amusing, slightly dissociative activity that can waste time, and one cannot read pages and pages of computer screen text the same way one can read a book. But these are not the only--or even the principal--reasons why literacy has declined. Wages are flat. Americans work longer for the same pay. Drives are longer. Distractions are mounting. Reading is a luxury that most feel that they can't afford and, alarmingly, the habit and discipline of reading can get lost. But not to worry. The disappearance of oil will soon force more people to live closer together and to abandon an affluence that will be out of reach. We can reclaim our democracy and our reading