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Dennis Baron's go-to site for language and technology in the news

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  • Poll shows 1 in 4 Americans don't read books. But books aren't everything . . .

Comments Aug 22, 2007 12:22 pm

i'm an english phd and so not surprisingly i read lot of  books for pleasure but i start a great many more books and fail to finish them. they stack up here and there until i can't stand the bulk and i return them to the library or give them away. the point is: my habits of reading are complex, owing something to how much time i perceive i have "for myself", how many times i go to the public library or browse the bookstore, etc. how many books I finish doesn't seem a good index of my literate behavior, even in regard to print.

also: my 6 yr old son watches lots of movies and then he "plays" them--he acts parts of them out with his toys. He often combines plots and characters, so he's operating as a bricoleur. i consider this play semiotic and creative, but it doesn't register on any literacy index  b/c no print is involved.

so,just to add to dennis' thoughts on the cyclical panic about literacy, i would suggest researchers need to pay more attention to the contexts for reading print (money/time, relationships, domestic space, locations and appeals of public libraries, etc)   and also to the sundry ways that kids become creative without print.



Reply to at 12:22 pm Jan 23, 2009 11:05 am

I would have to save I completely agree with you. I am an avid reader and though I don't read as many book and novel that I would like to I spend at least 3 - 4 hours a day read computer code, consumer reports, my RSS feeds.  So although I can only say I have read maybe 10 books in the last few years, i never consider myself lacking in my literacy.

Reply to at 11:05 am