U.S. literature reading population down 10% from 1982 to 2004.
Percentage of young adults reading literature fell 17% in the 18-24 age group.
Adults who read any book dropped 7% from 1992 to 2002.
Adults who reported reading reading any literature was down 14%.
7% decline in adult reading from 2011 to 2015.
One in three adolescents do not read a single book a year.
Children from age 9 to 11 found reading “less enjoyable” than other media.
A quarter dubbed reading “boring."
70% said they would rather watch TV or a DVD than read.
"[Once you turn on the TV] all you have to do is sit and stare. But reading is active, an act of attention, of absorbed alertness…To read a story well is to follow it, to act it, to feel it, to become it—everything short of writing it, in fact"
- Ursula Le Gain
Literature is a bridge from:
Readers to stories that teach them they are not alone
Writers to themselves, to parts of them they did not realize
In Use With Teachers and Therapists:
Refugee Nomif reacts to the main character of Bessie Head’s When Rain Clouds Gather
"He is like me, coming to a strange place. Not knowing who to trust. This man is in the same position as me"
Refugee Amina sees herself through her writing
"When you write and you are writing about you, you sit here and read and you think, all those words are me. The words make me."
Short stories, “speak of such scenes as we would of our own memories…it imitates memory...in telling their stories we call them back to speak and move among us again”
- Tobias Wolff
"Without language, we could not describe the difference between an elephant and an egg...The name of a thing confers identity upon it and makes it possible for us to think about it"
- Helen Keller
My workshop targeted teens because this age group has the best chance of adopting writing as a lifelong coping mechanism.
John’s Hopkins University's The Teen Years Explained: A Guide to Healthy Adolescent Development:
Time, “of concentrated social, emotional, and cognitive development”
“a time of opportunity, not turmoil”
Time when people are highly influenced by their surroundings and experiences
No longer passive recipients of experience like their younger counterparts
Pew Research Center (2003) - only 17% of teens enjoy school writing
22% enjoy writing “not much”
10% enjoy it “not at all”
the writer having a sense of voice, a sense that their words matter
the reader having a diverse selection of voices from which to learn
“writing is about art and truth—about taking the stuff all around us every day, transforming it into a creative form, and asking others to re-see it, to see it anew”
“The whole point is to change how others understand the human, and to do that, the words must circulate”
- Dr. Jennifer Cognard-Black
These facts are the reason I built this project and the reason I am sharing my findings. The art of literature underscores the importance of words to human understanding and the stark situation of global interest in the subject. You can read these facts in their entirety on the Research tab.