Aliteracy in America The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them. Mark Twain
Definitions of Aliteracy • A lack of the reading habit in capable readers • The ability to read without the desire
Discouraging Facts • 7% of Americans are voracious readers • 59% read fewer than ten books in a year • 90 Million Americans over the age of 16 lack reading and writing skills needed for employment • One of five Americans who can read does read • Decline in language, critical thinking skills, and informed participants in government. • Percentage of student who hardly ever read • 12% age 9 • 21.7% age 13 • 23.6% age 17
American Culture and Literature “Ours is a culture of the Book. Our democracy is built on books and reading. This tradition is now threatened by the twin menaces of illiteracy and aliteracy.” Daniel J. Boorstin “Aliteracy is tearing apart our culture. If you don’t read much you really don’t know much. You’re dangerous.” Jim Trelease
Reasons not to Read • Reading slowness • Time pressures • Lack of motivation • Boredom • Technology
Types of Reader Dormant readers-read when they feel they have the time. Uncommitted readers-don’t care much for reading, but could grow to like it. Unmotivated readers-dislike reading and express negative attitudes about readers.
Encourage reading • Spend class time reading books students choose. • Acknowledge possible anxiety. • Teacher reads aloud. • Recommend books. • Recommend smaller articles at first • Show movie first, then read book. • Start with a small amount to choose from, too many choices can be overwhelming • Encourage reading in technology exercises.
Suggestions for the Librarian • Longer hours. • Encourage all reading, even comics and romances • Larger collections means better high-reading scores. • Remember peers influence teen reading.