behind the headline

January 13, 2009

yesterday, much was made of the NEA’s study that concluded reading is on the rise for the first time in 26 years (the data collection first began in 1982).  in comparing 2002 statistics with 2008, there was an increase in the number of adults who reported reading a novel, poem, play, or short story in print or online in the previous 12 months.  the outgoing head of the NEA, Dana Gioia, largely attributed the increase to such community reading programs as “The Big Read,” Oprah’s book club, the popularity of series fiction such as “Twilight” and “Harry Potter,” as well as the efforts of educators, parents, and librarians.  the original report, “Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy” is here (does reading it online count as reading?).

blogs and list-serves offered immediate criticism of the study: reading online was included for the first time in the 2008 survey which skews the data plus the continued omission of nonfiction and audiobooks in the survey.  additionally, if 18-24 year- olds are the youngest group surveyed, just how influential are the “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” series and parents on increasing these numbers?  and Oprah’s book club has been around since 1996.  honestly, this survey doesn’t seem to be of much use.

(via Dear Author)

posting by marin

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