"The NEA's new report, To Read or Not to Read, finds that Americans are reading less, and that their reading comprehension skills are eroding. Moreover, these declines will have serious civic, social, cultural, and economic implications.
The report is a substantial expansion upon the NEA's 2004 report, Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. That study found that Americans in almost every demographic group were reading fiction, poetry, and drama at significantly lower rates than 10 or 20 years earlier.
To Read or Not to Read confirms without any serious qualification the central importance of reading for a prosperous, free society, notes NEA Chairman Dana Gioia in his preface to the report. The nation needs to focus more attention and resources on an activity both fundamental and irreplaceable for democracy."