Why Americans Can't, Don't and Won't Read
• Twitter Lunacy. In 2009, I was persuaded to “tweet” on Twitter.com to increase my online presence. Within a year, I had 417 followers, some of whom report they are following hundreds—and in some cases thousands—of tweeters. Example, Tony Martini in Utah is following 1,744 tweeters. How in the world does Tony have time to do much else?
Roadblock #2: The Literacy Problem
• “Research tells us that to communicate effectively with a general audience in the U.S., we need to write at a 6th-8th grade reading level.”
“Nearly 50% of the Americans surveyed cannot read well enough to find a single piece of information in a short publication, nor can they make low level inferences based on what they read.”
“41.6% of American patients could not comprehend directions for taking medication on an empty stomach.”
“26% were unable to understand information regarding when their next appointment was scheduled.
“50.5% could not understand a standard informed consent form.”
—The Informatics Review
• “44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their child.
“50 percent of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level.
“20 percent of Americans are functionally illiterate and read below a 5th grade level.”
Roadblock #3: Poor Attention Span
• “Neil Postman writes in his book, 'Amusing ourselves to Death,' that the attention span of humans was considerably longer years ago. The specific example he uses in his book is that of the Lincoln-Douglas debates in the 1800's, which were literally read from paper and lasted for hours. Postman notes that amazingly, the people stayed, listened and paid attention. Today, I doubt we could expect to read any statement for 8-10 hours and have an audience of people stay in the room, let alone stay focused.”
—Dr. Kathie F. Nunley, Help4Teachers.com