You know the format for these old jokes, right: I have good news and I have bad news, which do you want first? Well, today, as I was surfing for some good quotes to add to my ALAN Workshop speech, I ran across some news that could be deemed good or bad depending on your point of view. I will share it first with that audience on Monday, November 19, 2012. I will post links to the power point (although I am using Haiku Deck right now) here after the speech. Don't you hate this teasing post?
But here is some good news and bad news to chew on in the meantime. The latest Pew research indicates that 16-19 year olds are reading. Yes, they are reading. They are reading as much percentage-wise as their older counterparts. Here is the chart:
Sorry that it is blurry, but the news is good.
Here comes the bad news: I want this study (from Pew) to be replicated about 3 years into CCSS. Even though I am heading to Las Vegas for NCTE, I am not much of a gambler. However, I am willing to bet these numbers decline after we have killed off more readers in the name of college and career readiness, close reading, rigor, and all the other horrors that are springing up in classrooms across the country. We have already witnessed HUGE decreases in reading for pleasure as low as 4th grade because of our obsession with test scores and value added education. The thing is, there does not have to be BAD news if we take charge and use texts that are appropriate (and perhaps even, dare I say, enjoyable?). So, will the future hold GOOD news or BAD news?
"Don't nobody bring me no bad news," is a line from a song in THE WIZ. I think this will be my theme song as I continue to join in the fight to keep children's and YA books in the classrooms and in the lives of kids.