The British journal Education reported on results from the Literacy Skills for the World of Tomorrow study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UNESCO. Their review of the research indicates that 15 year-old girls in all 43 countries surveyed are surpassing their male counterparts in literacy. Source: Girls out-read boys worldwide. (2003). Education, 109, 1, Retrieved November 14, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database. Full research report available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/9/33690591.pdf
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Literacy Initiative for Empowerment ( LIFE) seeks by 2015 to help reduce by half the rate of adult illiteracy in the world. LIFE operations, a global strategy to raise awareness on the importance of literacy are country-led, respond to country-specific needs and priorities, and correspond to national capacities. Designed to further the goals of the UN Literacy Decade (2003-2012), LIFE is being implemented in 35 countries with a literacy rate of less than 50 per cent or a population of more than 10 million illiterates.
Source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=19773&cr=literacy&cr1 =
“A poll commissioned by Teletext in 2007 questioned 4,000 adult readers on their reading habits. The survey found the top 10 fiction books that Britons cannot finish are:
1) Vernon God Little, D.B.C Pierre (35%)
2) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J. K Rowling (32%)
3) Ulysses, James Joyce (28%)
4) Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis De Bernieres (27%)
5) Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (24%)
6) The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie (21%)
7) The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho (19%)
8) War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy (18%)
9) The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy (16%)
10) Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky (15%)”
-“A survey of 1,000 people for Bedtime Reading Week 2002 found the most popular place to read was in bed (65% of the sample). 25% relax with a book in the bath, 10% take a book to the loo (mainly men), almost half like to read on holiday and a third read on the journey to work. Over a third of those interviewed said they wish they had more time to read.”
-“Surveys by Muse, BML, DCMS, CIPFA in 2006 found that 47% of UK adults are registered with their local library”
-“A survey by Book Marketing for World Book Day 2001 found that the average British reader reads for between 4 and 6 hours a week. In Scotland the average is 5.8 hours. 54% said they read for relaxation or to relieve stress.”
“Iceland is full of readers. Iceland has the highest number of book readers per head of population in the world. This correlates with the fact that it has a near 100 percent functional literacy rate.”
Source: Literacy in Iceland from Australian School Library Association Inc. (ASLA) http://www.asla.org.au/pubs/access/a_commentary_180204.htm
According to the 2000-20004 estimated figures from the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) Institute for Statistics, China has a 90.9% literacy rate and an illiterate population of 87 million.
The latest National Endowment for the Arts report draws on a variety of sources, public and private, and essentially reaches one conclusion: Americans are reading less. The 99-page study, “To Read or Not to Read,” was released November 19, 2007 as a follow-up to a 2004 NEA survey, “Reading at Risk,” that found an increasing number of adult Americans were not even reading one book a year.
Among the key findings:
Americans are reading less – teens and young adults read less often and for shorter amounts of time compared with other age groups and with Americans of previous years.
• Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier. Among 17-year-olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled over a 20-year period, from nine percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.1
• On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.2
Americans are reading less well – reading scores continue to worsen, especially among teenagers and young males. By contrast, the average reading score of 9-year-olds has improved.
• Reading scores for 12th-grade readers fell significantly from 1992 to 2005, with the sharpest declines among lower-level readers.3
• 2005 reading scores for male 12th-graders are 13 points lower than for female 12th-graders, and that gender gap has widened since 1992.4
• Reading scores for American adults of almost all education levels have deteriorated, notably among the best-educated groups. From 1992 to 2003, the percentage of adults with graduate school experience who were rated proficient in prose reading dropped by 10 points, a 20 percent rate of decline.5
The declines in reading have civic, social, and economic implications – Advanced readers accrue personal, professional, and social advantages. Deficient readers run higher risks of failure in all three areas.
• Nearly two-thirds of employers ranked reading comprehension “very important” for high school graduates. Yet 38 percent consider most high school graduates deficient in this basic skill.6
• American 15-year-olds ranked fifteenth in average reading scores for 31 industrialized nations, behind Poland, Korea, France, and Canada, among others.7
• Literary readers are more likely than non-readers to engage in positive civic and individual activities – such as volunteering, attending sports or cultural events, and exercising.8
Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier. Among 17-year-olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled over a 20-year period, from nine percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.1
On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.2