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ERIC Number: ED499045
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 98
Abstractor: ERIC
To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence. Research Report #47
National Endowment for the Arts
This report contains the best national data available to provide a reliable and comprehensive overview of American reading today. While it incorporates some statistics from the National Endowment for the Arts' 2004 report, "Reading at Risk," this new study contains vastly more data from numerous sources. Although most of this information is publicly available, it has never been assembled and analyzed as a whole. It is the most complete and up-to-date report of the nation's reading trends and--perhaps most important--their considerable consequences. The data prompts three unsettling conclusions: Americans are spending less time reading; reading comprehension skills are eroding; and these declines have serious civic, social, cultural, and economic implications. Specifically, the data in this report identifies several discrepancies at a national level: (1) Less reading for pleasure in late adolescence than in younger age groups; (2) Declines in reading test scores among 17-year-olds and high school seniors in contrast to younger age groups and lower grade levels; (3) Among high school seniors, a wider rift in the reading scores of advanced and deficient readers; (4) A male-female gap in reading proclivity and achievement levels; (5) A sharp divide in the reading skills of incarcerated adults versus non-prisoners; and (6) Greater academic, professional, and civic benefits associated with high levels of leisure reading and reading comprehension. Strictly understood, the data in this report do not necessarily show cause and effect but merely indicate correlations. This report confirms--without any serious qualification--the central importance of reading for a prosperous, free society. The report is issued not as en elegy nor to dictate any specific remedial policies, but to initiate serious discussion. (Contains 54 tables, 12 charts, and 84 footnotes.) [This research report was produced by the Office Research & Analysis.]
National Endowment for the Arts. 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20506. Tel: 202-682-5400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Endowment for the Arts (NFAH), Washington, DC.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A