Aliteracy has been defined as people who have the ability to read but don’t and this is an equally serious problem in America. The problem extends to every facet of life when people fail to develop their thinking and problem solving skills through reading.
According to the American Booksellers Association, 58 percent of American adults and 42 percent of university graduates never read another book after graduation. Is it because they don’t have enough time? Research shows that on average, the average American spends nearly 2,000 hours per year watching television. That’s the equivalent of sitting in front of the TV for 83 straight days non-stop. The non-readers might be able to carve out a little time from their TV viewing to read a few good books which is far more stimulating to the mind.
“Aliteracy reflects a change in cultural values and a loss of skills, both of which threaten the processes of a free and democratic society,” says William J. Baroody, Jr., president of The American Enterprise Institute. “Literacy provides people with the intellectual tools used to question, challenge, understand, disagree and arrive at consensus. In short it allows people to participate in an exchange of ideas.”
Reading provides a steady flow of information to challenge and sharpen people’s breadth of knowledge. Without that constant input, mediocrity and obsolescence become the predominate characteristic. “The engaged, energetic, and motivated leadership groups are reading serious books,” says Townsend Hoopes, President of the Association of American Publishers. “They thereby reinforce their power and influence while the mass public is sinking into a passive contentment with soaps and sitcoms.”
When was the last time you read a good book that sharpened your thinking and provided new useful insights for your life on and off the job? If you are part of the growing trend of aliteracy, visit the library or bookstore soon to break this alarming pattern and invest in your personal and professional development.