Does "Reading at Risk" translate to "writers at risk"?

It's not exactly shocking news that Americans are reading less and less, but the impact of it is worth looking at, especially for those of us who hope to make a living supplying words that are in increasingly less demand. A recent study by the NEA strongly indicates that as we the people read less, we're getting dumber.

According to Motoko Rich's article in yesterday's NY Times:
...Americans — particularly young Americans — appear to be reading less for fun, and as that happens, their reading test scores are declining. At the same time, performance in other academic disciplines like math and science is dipping for students whose access to books is limited, and employers are rating workers deficient in basic writing skills.

That is the message of a new report being released today by the National Endowment for the Arts, based on an analysis of data from about two dozen studies from the federal Education and Labor Departments and the Census Bureau as well as other academic, foundation and business surveys. After its 2004 report, “Reading at Risk,” which found that fewer than half of Americans over 18 read novels, short stories, plays or poetry, the endowment sought to collect more comprehensive data to build a picture of the role of all reading, including nonfiction.

In his preface to the new 99-page report Dana Gioia, chairman of the endowment, described the data as “simple, consistent and alarming.”

I'm not sure what to do with that. What's my small part in combatting a culture where conversations are getting thinner and the market for my work is getting smaller?

I'm pondering. And open to ideas.

Comments

Suzan Harden said…
"Monkey see, monkey do." If we adults don't set an example, how can we expect them to follow?

I often give books to my nieces and nephews - everything from Sandra Boynton's 'Hippos Go Beserk' to Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman'. But when my sister-in-law throws out the copy of 'The Chronicles of Narnia' I gave to my nephew one year because she believed it promoted Satanism...
Criminy! Guess she slept through the class on allegory. Christian allegory, at that.
Joni Rodgers said…
Ow! Ow! My head!

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