Posted by: Steven Harris | January 21, 2008


Happy MLK! I’m [un]happily ensconced at home tending a rhinovirus, but it was a holiday nonetheless.

I was going to add this as an afterthought to the previous post, but decided to elevate it to full post. I had been thinking that the NEA data about the decline in reading was not particularly significant–the numbers not especially frightening–a few percentage points really. I also wanted to say that their notion of reading is especially narrow: book reading. Now, part of the argument I had with those philosophers at USU was about the decline in cultural literacy, not so much about reading in general. A person could, however, be both literate and fairly culturally literate while reading relatively few books. The intertextuality of our culture being what it is, a devoted reader of newspapers and magazines would be as conversant, I dare say, with our culture as many book readers.

Well, it seems the folks over at if:book have already made many of my arguments, more thoroughly and eloquently too, I might add. The most important of these arguments is that, in fact, reading skills have NOT declined over the past 30 years.  Hmmmmm.


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