Last year, for the first time, Renaissance did a separate study to find out what books were being assigned to high school students. “The complexity of texts students are being assigned to read,” Stickney says, “has declined by about three grade levels over the past 100 years. A century ago, students were being assigned books with the complexity of around the ninth- or 10th-grade level. But in 2012, the average was around the sixth-grade level.”
Most of the assigned books are novels, like To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men or Animal Farm. Students even read recent works like The Help and The Notebook. But in 1989, high school students were being assigned works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, Emily Bronte and Edith Wharton.Now, with the exception of Shakespeare, most classics have dropped off the list.
Source: Lynn Neary, What Kids Are Reading, In School And Out : Monkey See : NPR
There is something predatory, cruel even, about a pen suspended over a text. Like a hawk over a field, it is on the lookout for something vulnerable. Then it is a pleasure to swoop and skewer the victim with the nib’s sharp point. The mere fact of holding the hand poised for action changes our attitude to the text. We are no longer passive consumers of a monologue but active participants in a dialogue.
via A Weapon for Readers by Tim Parks | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books.
The internet has a much higher write-to-read ratio than traditional methods of mass content distribution. In television, radio, newspapers, books, film and theatre there is a hard division between a small number of content producers and a large number of content consumers. Not so the internet. Many of us go online with the intention of reading, but before we’re done, we’ve written a bunch of tweets, sent off a comment, or engaged in an all out flame war, almost always in the public domain.
Writing online is so nearly effortless that reading (not to mention reflection, deliberation and thought) has become a chore in comparison. It’s easier to jot off a patronizing, indignant or self-aggrandizing missive than it is to take the trouble to read the whole article or give fair consideration to the author’s perspective. Thus the vicious circle sets in…
via The Oxford Comma and the Internet | Angus Croll.
Slow reading is also about recovering old practices that have traditionally aided readers in paying attention — oral performance, annotation, exploring complex and difficult passages. It is about reading that generates ideas for writing, what Ralph Waldo Emerson called “creative reading.” And even memorization.
via Reading is not a race: The virtues of the ‘slow reading’ movement – The Answer Sheet – The Washington Post.
The formula used to give points to books in the Accelerated Reader program gives 28 points to the last book in the “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer, “Breaking Dawn,” about a girl who becomes a vampire, and 25 points to Steinback’s classic “The Grapes of Wrath.” And Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” gets more points, 23, than Harper Lee’s classic “To Kill a Mockingbird,”15.
via Readability formulas and Obama’s speech, Gingrich’s PhD – The Answer Sheet – The Washington Post.
a long, long
wait at the doctor’s office;