professornana (professornana) wrote,

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reading research

I love Twitter. I click on a tweet, follow a post, and find myself harvesting so much good information. Yes, Twitter is fine for other purposes as well and I do enjoy some give and take with collegaues, but it is almost effortless PD for me as well. This morning, I saw this:

This is more of the latest from the Pew Internet Research on books and reading. Don't let the headlines dictate your interest. It is not only about eBooks; there is some fascinating info (and infographics) about how much we are reading as well. Here is a quote:

All told, those book readers consumed a mean (average) of 15 books in the previous 12 months and a median (midpoint) of 6 books — in other words, half had read fewer than six and half had read more than six. That breaks down as follows:
•7% of Americans ages 16 and older read one book in the previous 12 months
•14% had read 2-3 books in that time block
•12% had read 4-5 books in that time block
•15% had read 6-10 books in that time block
•13% had read 11-20 books in that time block
•14% had read 21 or more books in that time block

That means you and I are reading well ahead of the mean and the median, right? But it is heartening news to see: people are reading. There are some disturbing results here as well. Race, income, and education all show statistically significant differences. In other words, the higher the income level and the higher education attained, the more reading was done in the past year. Race is also a factor with white respondents reading statistically significantly more books.

Seeing race as a factor was not a huge surprise for one major reason: it is still a mostly white world in books for children and teens. In the 1960s Nancy Larrick write about the "All White World of Children's Books." Here is a PDF of that article: Surely in 50 years, we have come a long way? Not so much. In the 1980s Rudine Sims Bishop examined children's books and determined that we had made progress but it was insufficient. Here is a link to her article from the Kappan:

So, where are we today? Take a look at the most recent stats:

photo (2)

We still have a long way to go. What is the solution? We need to make a concerted effort to purchase books by and about all races and ethnicities and religions. Start with the Coretta Scott King and Belpre Awards from ALA. Look at the USBBY lists. Seek out recommendations from professional organizations.

There are too many gaps out there.We need to try to help close them if we can. A group of my Twitter pals are challenging themselves in this regard and reading books they would normally NOT pick up immediately. I think this is a step in the right direction as well. Pick up some of the King and Belpre winners and take them into your classrooms.
Tags: characters in books, ethnicity, pew internet, race, research
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