Non-readers and non-sense

Just saw yet another mention of yet another NEA report on “reading”–this one with NEA saying American adults are half readers, half non-readers.

By which NEA apparently means that half of adults (as projected from whatever survey they did) read a book (in whatever period they chose) or, more narrowly, NEA’s definition of “literature.”

Here’s the direct quote from the study highlights:

  • The U.S. population now breaks into two almost equally sized groups – readers and non-readers.
  • A slight majority of American adults now read literature (113 million) or books (119 million) in any format.

So if you’re a scientist who read, say, 500-1,000 journal articles (and wrote four), a slew of reports, the daily newspaper and more… oops, sorry, you’re a non-reader. You’re aliterate.

In the past, I’ve done a little dissecting of NEA’s Chicken Little Reports on literacy in America; you can find some of that in Cites & Insights. With, of course, no effect or response. And it’s beginning to seem like a waste of time.

So maybe NEA’s reports are having an effect. Namely, whatever time I would otherwise spend reading, analyzing and commenting on this latest report will instead go into reading a book. Maybe even a “literary” book. Let’s see: I’m probably taking Terry Pratchett’s Feet of Clay to Midwinter, along with the usual SF magazines: Does that count?

(I knew it was getting to me when I failed to celebrate that NEA report’s conclusions that after the long disastrous fall in reading rates, there was finally a significant improvement. Since I thought most of the “fall” was nonsense and cooked data, I couldn’t bring myself to suddenly assume NEA was doing it right this time around.)

One Response to “Non-readers and non-sense”