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.