Leisure Reading on Decline

Posted by Backyard Urban Gardening on Saturday, November 24, 2007

The NEA published a recent study that reveals some alarming trends. Americans are reading less and less.

Americans aged 18 - 24 who read at least one book for pleasure fell from 59% in 1992 to 52% in 2002. Perhaps even more alarming is that the percentages for adults aged 35 - 44 are similarly lower at 66% in 1992 to 59% in 2002.

What do these statistics reveal about the values and attitudes of adults in our country? Are video games, computers, cell phones, and e-mail contributing to the downward slide?

Many of my friends tell me that they simply don't have time for reading. I call hogwash on that one. It's not that they don't have the time, it's that they don't prioritize the time for leisure reading. Those changing priorities have influenced their children too. If you take a lunch hour at work, then you have ample time for reading. Thirty minutes a day reading a good book during the lunch break just might increase work place productivity. Honestly.

In a recent conversation with my twelve year old nephew, I offered to purchase some of the Harry Potter books for him to read. He declined my offer and even more alarming is that my sister did not offer any positive reinforcement to further the conversation to influence my nephew at all. She even commented that the Harry Potter books are too long and his attention span is too short.

Later that day I witnessed him admitting to my wife that for school book report assignments he only reads the first few pages of a book and then reads the last chapter of the book. He shortcuts the entire process. A lazy approach to be sure.

I better cut this post short so no one loses interest.

2 comments:

Julia Buckley said...

I didn't lose interest; the statistics frighten me. Perhaps we should start a national trend of reading aloud to one another. Maybe that would encourage a shift back to a love of silent reading, as well.

Brian said...

I agree. While in elementary school, almost all of my teachers scheduled time each day and read a book out loud. It's a good way to learn how to write and tell stories too.

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