In 2013, the Nation’s Report Card showed that only 38% of high school seniors were proficient in reading. With scores like that, the U.S. isn’t likely to earn the “most literate country” award any time soon.
So what is America’s international literacy ranking? According to The Washington Post, the U.S. places seventh behind Nordic countries such as Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Such a score is obtained by looking at newspaper circulation and readership, library availability, education access, reading scores, and computer usage in each nation.
The Washington Post bemoans the fact that the leading nation of the free world ranks so low in such an important area. And well they should, particularly as the following U.S. literacy statistics are even more alarming:
- 14% of adults can’t read.
- Only 13% of adults can read at a proficient level.
- 28% of adults didn’t read a book in the last year.
- 50% of adults can’t a read book written at an 8th grade level.
But so what, right? In our enlightened digital age, what harm does it really bring if American literacy is tanking?
It does a lot of harm. Our ancestors would be beside themselves. Think about it. We have this thing in front of us that we’re on all the time. Be it a computer, tablet, phone, whatever. This machine contains so much knowledge, our ancestors would be beside themselves. We can learn and do anything here. Any research you want to do you can. You can find things schools don’t teach. Authors and artists that previously would disappear into obscurity are now virtually immortal. Our government is recorded and kept here so we can bring back videos and audio later to challenge their lies. The entire history of the world is available with the click of a button. We are holding every piece of knowledge available to man, and we carry it around with us all day long and some people sleep with it under their pillows.
Yet our education level is below the average of other nations. We ignore all of this almost free information so we can spend hours a day watching cat videos.
When I got my first tablet, I realized I wasn’t reading as much as I had originally. I got a Kindle Fire, thinking it would help me with my book problem (I currently have four large book cases full of books, plus two smaller ones; I was hoping the Kindle would bring down the amount of books piling up). With my Kindle Fire, I had the choice between reading a book or checking Facebook.
I am back to buying books again.