Fewer 13-year-olds are unwinding with a good novel at the end of the day, as only 14% reportedly say they "read for fun" almost every day, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress.
The survey runs alongside the federal test commonly known as the nation's report card, which revealed that Math and English scores for 13-year-olds had fallen to their lowest level in decades — even underperforming the 2020 results when the pandemic disrupted education heavily.
It's widely believed that reading for pleasure correlates with improved test performance. The latest data does little to dispel that notion, as students who reported reading for fun almost every day scored on average 275, surpassing those who read less frequently in their spare time.
It's hard not to jump to the conclusion that the rise of screens and the internet has contributed to the slow demise of "reading for fun," with instant gratification the norm for so many young people. Perhaps most concerning is the 31% of students who reported "never or hardly ever" reading for fun, up from just 9% in 1999.
Readers Evolve into Writers
Magic occurs when you endeavor to document ideas—setting down the stuff knocking about your brain and massaging that stuff into a more solid, permanent form. The skills of Writing and Persuasion are super-power skills, and Generative AI such as ChatGPT can help students to learn to be highly competent writers and persuaders.
The point of learning to write is that learning to write is learning to think. Most people can only develop a complex, multi-part proposition with writing.
Writing is the only technique to keep track of the steps required to persuade your audience. Writing is also essential in working out the flow of the proposition in the first place. For this reason, it doesn't matter how well AI can formulate an argument. Instead, students will need to develop those arguments to learn to think.
Writing is thinking in a certain way that is impossible when communicating orally. To lose the ability to write or never cultivate it in the first place is to be a lesser version of the person you hope to be.