Tuesday, January 1, 2008

What will life be like if people stop reading?

The New Yorker recently featured an article about what the overall decline in reading will mean to society on a large scale. It's spookily titled "Twilight of the Books" and written by Caleb Crain.

It's smart stuff on how reading developed, how reading changed human beings, and how today's growing reliance on TV and streaming video on the Internet for entertainment and news could eventually change the way we think. Of course, there's lots of head smackers about kids, reading and TV, like this tidbit:

The antagonism between words and moving images seems to start early. In August, scientists at the University of Washington revealed that babies aged between eight and sixteen months know on average six to eight fewer words for every hour of baby DVDs and videos they watch daily. A 2005 study in Northern California found that a television in the bedroom lowered the standardized-test scores of third graders. And the conflict continues throughout a child’s development. In 2001, after analyzing data on more than a million students around the world, the researcher Micha Razel found “little room for doubt” that television worsened performance in reading, science, and math.

I highly recommend the article, which you can read here.

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