Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Where's evidence U.S. 'reading less'?

Great to have someone like Dr. Stephen Krashen keeping track of these things. There's so much alarmist stuff out there and it's hard to sift through it all. -Angela

Where's evidence U.S. 'reading less'?
USA Today, letters
Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus, University of
Southern California - Los Angeles
Nov. 27, 2007

There is very little evidence to support USA TODAY's
claim that Americans are reading less for pleasure
("Americans close the book on recreational reading,"
Life, Nov. 19).

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) report
claimed that reading was declining the most for 13-
and 17-year-olds.

The report quotes the Pew Research Center, which found
that in 2006 only 38% of adults said they read a book
the previous day. The NEA report fails to note that in
2002, Pew found that 34% of adults read a book the
previous day.

Also, when all kinds of reading are considered, such
as magazines, newspapers and material posted on the
Internet, young people report reading about an hour a
day, according to a 2005 Kaiser Family Foundation

American writers have been complaining about the
decline of literacy since 1874, when more than half of
Harvard's candidates flunked an entrance exam. There
was no clear evidence of a decline then, and there
isn't any now.

Comment added by S Krashen to USA Website,
In checking the 2002 Pew report, I discovered that in
1994, only 31% of adults said they read a book the
previous day. This is more evidence that the trend
since 1994 is up, not down, more reading, not less.
Read a book yesterday:
1991: 31%
1995: 35%
2000: 35%
2006: 38%

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