Is Our Children Reading?

No, and neither are teenagers and adults, new study finds
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2007 12:46 PM CST
Miana Breed, 14, looks over the "Harry Potter" shelves during a trip to Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Raleigh, N.C., , July 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Karen Tam)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – As far as young people are concerned, books are so 20th century. Reading's popularity has fallen as gadgets have taken over modern life, according to a new National Endowment for the Arts report. Only a third of high school seniors read at a proficient level. “And proficiency is not a high standard,” the NEA’s chairman told the Boston Globe. “We’re talking about reading the daily newspaper.”

Only 30% of 13-year-olds read daily, while almost half of 18- to 24-year-olds never read for pleasure. “I was impressed and depressed” by the findings’ consistency, said chairman Dana Gioia, who blames the media for not promoting books and a flood of gadgets for cluttering leisure time. But good readers make good citizens: Bookworms participate in charity and cultural works at greater rates than nonreaders, and they're more successful in business.