As I sit up at night unable to sleep, I came across this article. No commentary necessary other than "duh." But I'll comment for the hell of it.
As I started teaching English Composition and Rhetoric (as ENC 1101 at FIU is now called), I start every semester asking all the students what their favorite books are and more and more the answer is: Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code, and The Alchemist.
The way the students answer the question makes it sound like their favorite book is the only book that they have read. Time after time it is the student who can't answer that question (because he/she has too many favorites) who is the better writer.
So my question is: are these finding really a suprise?
Seeing the school I teach at take out Literature from the composition classroom, it makes me wonder if the students leaving my classroom aren't leaving without the tools needed to succeed? I also wonder: if these kids don't read a book in my English class, and they are only required to read one story in their ENC 1102 class, well, then, are they ever going to read another book besides Harry Potter and the one in 1102? After all, as the report states:
In seeking to detail the consequences of a decline in reading, the study showed that reading appeared to correlate with other academic achievement. In examining the average 2005 math scores of 12th graders who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books, an analysis of federal Education Department statistics found that those students scored much lower than those who lived in homes with more than 100 books. Although some of those results could be attributed to income gaps, Mr. Iyengar noted that students who lived in homes with more than 100 books but whose parents only completed high school scored higher on math tests than those students whose parents held college degrees (and were therefore likely to earn higher incomes) but who lived in homes with fewer than 10 books.
Well parents... Don't expect your kids to read any books in their college English class either. Try the library, they got the books in there for free-- although, last I checked, FIU stopped ordering any new books. Let's hope ignorance really is bliss.