"Average of 2 Hours/Day Watching TV and 7 Minutes/Day Reading " – Americans Reading Less New Study Says
Tonight I heard on NPR’s All Things Considered an interesting story that fits right in with Unplug Your Kids so I absolutely have to report it for those who might have missed it. Sorry to postpone my next Christmas/Holiday Unplugged post for anyone who really cares, but I’ll get it up tomorrow morning or evening.
– Reading scores for American adults of almost all education levels have deteriorated, notably among the best-educated groups. From 1992 to 2003, the percentage of adults with graduate school experience who were rated proficient in prose reading dropped by 10 points, a 20 percent rate of decline.
According to NPR, an earlier NEA study was criticized for only considering adults reading literary works, fiction, poetry, and drama. This time the study also included all ages, and all reading materials, including newspapers, magazines, and even the internet. The results were the same.
There seems to be a decline in pleasure reading beginning in middle school and continuing on through high school and adulthood. People read less and less…and therefore, read less and less well. This affects academic and economic performance, as well as civic and political contributions.
Of course the obvious culprits appear to be electronic distractions, however some speak of a positive “New Literacy” among today’s youth, “a literacy not limited to books.” Dana Joya, Chairman of the NEA debunks this claim. Apparently all the kids tested engaged in the same sort of electronic activities, but those who READ BOOKS, did better on the tests.
Other interesting stats from the study :
55% who read below “the basic level,” were unemployed.
Only 3% of prison inmates are proficient readers.
(and I have to say I have not read the complete study so as to be able to exactly define the terms “basic level” and “proficient,” but at least this gives you a general idea).
The final tidbit that caught my attention from this report was that the NEA found that socio-economic status did not have an impact on the amount that children read, rather the defining characteristic, was the number of books in the home.
Photo courtesy of morguefile.com and photographer jeltovski