US ‘reading on the rise’

The National Endowment for the Arts saw a significant upswing in adult reading in the research for its latest such study, "Reading on the Rise." This year's report, the NEA's fifth since 1982, "documents a definitive increase in rates and numbers of American adults who read literature, with the biggest increases among young adults, ages 18-24," the NEA's press release says. It adds that this growth "reverses two decades of downward trends cited previously in NEA reports." Good news "at a time of immense cultural pessimism," NEA Chairman Dana Gioia pointed out. As for young adults, "since 2002, 18-to-24-year-olds have seen the biggest increase (9%) in literary reading, and the most rapid rate of increase (21%). This jump reversed a 20% rate of decline in the 2002 survey, the steepest rate of decline since the NEA survey began," the NEA says. And about online vs. offline reading, the survey found that "84% of adults who read literature (fiction, poetry, or drama) on or downloaded from the Internet also read books, whether print or online."

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