Literacy Decline Mirrors Voluntary-Reading Rate

The National Endowment for the Arts has released its latest study lending more support to the notion that when students read less for pleasure throughout their lives, their overall reading achievement also declines. An analysis of several studies indicates that test scores and voluntary reading tend to go hand in hand.

From The New York Times?s article:

Among the findings is that although reading scores among elementary school students have been improving, scores are flat among middle school students and slightly declining among high school seniors. These trends are concurrent with a falloff in daily pleasure reading among young people as they progress from elementary to high school, a drop that appears to continue once they enter college. The data also showed that students who read for fun nearly every day performed better on reading tests than those who reported reading never or hardly at all.

The study also examined results from reading tests administered to adults and found a similar trend: The percentage of adults who are proficient in reading prose has fallen at the same time that the proportion of people who read regularly for pleasure has declined.

The Library of Congress works together with the NEA to promote reading through the National Book Festival, and the Library supports a host of other programs and initiatives, primarily through its Center for the Book.

The Library is also working with the Ad Council and other partners on our ongoing lifelong-literacy campaign, which encourages reading throughout young people?s lives. You can ?Explore New Worlds? on our site at Literacy.gov, which includes video PSAs and a game where you can create your own ?Storybook Adventure.?

8 Comments

  1. gary price
    November 19, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Matt:
    To make a NY Times NO LONGER require a login/registration, simply use the NY Times Link Generator.

    http://nytimes.blogspace.com/genlink

    It’s free, makes the URL permanent and also makes the story no longer require a NY Times login.

    So the URL for the story above becomes:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/19/arts/19nea.html?ex=1353214800&en=ba071139b848790c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

    This service has been available for several years.

  2. gary price
    November 19, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Oops, A bit quick on the submit key.

    I forgot to mention that the National Center for Education Statistics has just published a report on student reading levels in several cities.

    It’s linked at the very bottom of this post.
    http://digbig.com/4wabq

    http://digbig.com/4wabq

  3. Matt Raymond
    November 20, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks, Gary, that’s definitely a useful “life hack”!

  4. Mauritius
    November 24, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Dr. Richard McCallum has recently started a discussion on the reading assessment and instruction and how together they can become a powerful tool in the process of learning to read. He has also explained the different types of assessment and how they affect reading instruction.

  5. kharas
    January 19, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Ok, on the issue of soliciting comments from the public: how about next time giving the public more than an eensy-teensy comment box and 16-day submission period at the beginning of the holiday season.

  6. Widgett Walls
    January 31, 2008 at 4:09 am

    It’s so very strange: the concept of somebody *not* reading for pleasure. Granted, these days I don’t have time for pleasure books that aren’t on audio, but still–I simply can’t fathom it when I hear that somebody “doesn’t like to read.” They can read, they’re literate, they just don’t “like” it. Has there ever been a study to figure out what’s wrong with these people…?

  7. Mimme
    August 16, 2008 at 7:36 am

    I think what we need to do here is try non-traditional methods to increase interest of students.

    I personally think we are stuck with old ways of teaching. We are not exploring new methods to deliver information.

    Thats just me.

  8. Ex Girlfiend
    April 9, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    After reading through the article, I just feel that I really need more info. Can you share some more resources please?

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