Monday, January 12, 2009

It's Not What You Don 't Know That Hurts You. It's What You Know That It Turns Out You Don't Know.

I felt so safe in the previous post bemoaning the rise of subliteracy. But then Kevin Drum links me to Dan Drezner links me to the National Endowment for the Arts:

For the first time in more than 25 years, American adults are reading more literature.

"At a time of immense cultural pessimism, the NEA is pleased to announce some important good news. Literary reading has risen in the U.S. for the first time in a quarter century," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "This dramatic turnaround shows that the many programs now focused on reading, including our own Big Read, are working. Cultural decline is not inevitable." Among the highlights of the study:

* Young adults show the most rapid increases in literary reading. Since 2002, 18-24 year olds have seen the biggest increase (nine percent) in literary reading, and the most rapid rate of increase (21 percent). This jump reversed a 20 percent rate of decline in the 2002 survey, the steepest rate of decline since the NEA survey began.

* Since 2002, reading has increased at the sharpest rate (+20 percent) among Hispanic Americans, Reading rates have increased among African Americans by 15 percent, and among Whites at an eight percent rate of increase.

* For the first time in the survey's history, literary reading has increased among both men and women. Literary reading rates have grown or held steady for adults of all education levels.

* Fiction (novels and short stories) accounts for the new growth in adult literary readers.

* Online readers also report reading books. Eighty-four percent of adults who read literature (fiction, poetry, or drama) on or downloaded from the Internet also read books, whether print or online.

So much for my reflexive despair. Good on you, young people!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: