Monday, November 19, 2007

Pleasure Readers Do It All, and Do It Better!

Your English teacher was right! Reading is good for you!

An NEA paper, "To Read or Not to Read," surveying 40 studies of child and adult reading, reports that reading for pleasure and personal interest has declined drastically over the past few years. Unlike the 2004 report, this study included literature, informational reading, periodicals, and internet reading and still found that the average adult spends only seven minutes reading anything by choice per day.

As most parents and teachers know firsthand, pleasure reading drops off almost instantly when children enter middle school. No problem? Think again. The study reports that middle and high school readers do overwhelmingly better on standardized testing than do reading-averse students. Fifty-five percent of adults who read below the basic level are unemployed. The single factor which correlates best with academic performance is the number of books available to the child at home. To listen to a brief summary of the report, click here.

These statistics on voluntary reading are rather grim. There are great authors and illustrators and book publishers, editors, and the rest of the book biz out there, working to bring a great product to market. Need a Christmas gift suggestion? Give every kid you love a great book.

Maybe the Amazon Kindle (see previous post) will lure some kids back into reading. They already know how to download whatever they want. Maybe having it available electronically will make books more cool. It can't hurt.



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