CQ Researcher has just published a study on the reading crisis. I’ve copied a summary below. Cross-reference to previous post regarding Caleb Crain’s December 24 New Yorker article, “Twilight of the Books: What will life be like if people stop reading?” Crain’s article is listed in the CQR bibliography. CQ Researcher can be accessed through most college library database services, or try your local county library (Multnomah provides CQR). Of particular interest are the opposing viewpoint articles at the end of the CQR report, by poet Dana Gioia and Games2Train CEO, Marc Prensky.
“Reading Crisis?” by Marcia Clemmitt, February 22, 2008
Do today’s youth read less than past generations?
The number of Americans who read for pleasure has been dropping for decades, and now recent data show the lowest levels ever, especially among Americans ages 15 to 24. At the same time, reading scores among teenagers are dropping. Some literacy experts are declaring the situation a crisis. They warn that with fewer fluent, habitual readers, America may soon lack not only the skilled workers needed for an information-based economy but also the informed voters crucial to democracy. Others dismiss such views as alarmist, arguing the data don’t capture the large amount of online reading today, especially by young adults. Technology experts also note that computers and video may be simply changing the form of literacy needed today, just as the printing press and typewriter did in ages past. While book reading formed the core of 20th-century literacy, in the 21st century literacy is more likely to mean writing blogs and instant messages as well as skimming online video and audio, along with text, to gather information.
- Do young people read less than in the past?
- Is there a literacy crisis?
- Will harm be done if new technologies crowd out traditional reading?