Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A New Chapter in American Literacy

Lest the title mislead, this post isn't about the new administration but about the new report from the National Endowment of the Arts "Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy,"  which suggests that a 25 year decline in fiction reading by adults may be reversing.  NEA chairman Dana Gioia says in the press release(below) that " cultural decline is not inevitable" - you have to admire the pluck of the NEA! 
Washington, D.C. -- For the first time in more than 25 years, American adults are reading more literature, according to a new study by the National Endowment for the Arts. Reading on the Rise documents a definitive increase in rates and numbers of American adults who read literature, with the biggest increases among young adults, ages 18-24. This new growth reverses two decades of downward trends cited previously in NEA reports such as Reading at Risk and To Read or Not To Read.
"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."

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