"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Are children shunning books?

Sent to The Telegraph (London), August 23, 2100

Re: "Warning as children shun books in favour of Facebook," August 22

Since 1840, newspapers have been reporting on the decline of literacy among young people. It wasn't true 170 years ago, and there is no reason to believe it is true now.

The Telegraph notes that pleasure reading declines as children get older. This has been reported in every study of this kind ever done and there is widespread agreement among scholars that increasing demands of school play a large role.

The Telegraph reports that that technology-based reading is more popular. This is not a cause for alarm. My analysis shows that if we include computer-based reading, young people today are doing just as much reading as ever. I compared American teenagers' reading habits in 2010 with teenagers in 1946. The amount of book reading was nearly exactly the same, but today's teenagers are spending much less time reading magazines and newspapers, and more time reading from the internet. Overall time spend reading? About the same.

Original article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/8716114/Warning-as-children-shun-books-in-favour-of-Facebook.html#disqus_thread

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