Commentary

Readers Will Be Leaders

  • by March 15, 2001
Readers Will Be Leaders

The National Education Association released a new poll on Teens and Reading on the U.S. Newswire recently which shows that Teenagers, age 12 to 18, rated reading, math, and writing as the first, second, and third most important things people need to learn to be successful in life.

Even in our fast-paced digital age with its emphasis on technology and computer skills, young people still recognize that turning their attention to the printed page is vital to success.

As we're bombarded with high-visibility electronic media, it's heartening to note that young people are planning to grow up with not only reading skills, but reading interest as well. And, with books being the predominate medium, advertisers might take advantage of youth messaging on jackets and promotional messages.

- 56% of young people read more than 10 books a year
- 70% of middle schoolers read more than 10 books a year, compared to 49% of high school students.

Young Americans described reading as:
- relaxing 87%
- rewarding and satisfying 85%
- stimulating and interesting 79%

- 42% say they read primarily for "fun and pleasure,"
- 46% say that most of the reading they've done in the past year has been for school.
- 42% said the majority of their reading has been for their own enjoyment.
- 56% of Hispanic youth and 51% of African-American youth reported they enjoyed reading, compared to 47% of white youth.

While reading is important at this age, it's no surprise that 48% of teens polled said "listening to music" would be the hardest to give up for a week.

The poll shows a strong foundation for sustaining a nation of readers, but indicates the need for continuing attention. "Parents and other adults not only need to encourage reading, but model behavior for young people by reading themselves," says Chase of the NEA.

Read more here

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