Reading Is On the Rise

A little good news for a change: According to a study released today by the National Endowment for the Arts and reported in today’s Washington Post, more Americans are actually reading.  And guess what they’re reading?  Fiction, according to the NEA.

And surprise, surprise! The study included “genre” fiction in what the NEA terms “literary reading.”

So the actual stats don’t sound that great. A small majority – 50.2% of Americans to be precise – are reading fiction today in comparison to the 46.7% reported in a 2002 NEA study. But there’s better news ahead: The most significant growth seems to be in the young adult category.

Hey, kids are reading! Reading is good!

The most popular genre today? The study says mysteries.

It’s a scary world when people don’t read. And, okay, so 54.3% of Americans out there report reading any book outside of work during the previous year is still disturbingly high, that’s still down from the 56.6% reported in 2002. I’ll take my good news where I can find it.

-Sandy AAR


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01/13/2009 3:03 pm

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading. And am thrilled that my young granddaughters are also avid readers. The oldest at age 10 called me a few month ago to proudly tell me “”Grandma, I have a TBR pile just like you”” I volunteer in classrooms to read to children and also to have them to read to me. We can’t give our chldren a greater gift than reading.

Judy Keating
Judy Keating
01/13/2009 1:08 pm

I think reading has always been a popular pasttime…there was not much publicity about it…also, more review websites than ever before…really helps to cull out the bad books from the good ones.
Reading is a cheap way to visit other countries and cultures, sigh.
I love reading and I love AAR.

Ellen AAR
Ellen AAR
01/13/2009 8:42 am

I’ll mention this to my children’s lit class. We always talk about why children read and why they don’t.

Even though the economic forecast is grim, the manager of the local Waldenbooks told me they had a wonderful Christmas season. And my brother who drives the bookmobile told me that he’s been run over with patrons.