I think that is a fairly safe assumption on my part that most of you reading Paperbacks Unlimited's newsletter are avid readers. Have you ever wondered how many people of like mind there are out there in the general population? What started this whole train of thought was an article on readers that appeared in The Atlantic magazine online and was sent to me by a friend. The article titled, "Why Some People Become Lifelong Readers" by Joe Pinsker, contained lots of fascinating information on how children are exposed to books in the home and how that factors into whether or not reading becomes and important part of the rest of their lives.
In 2012 The National Endowment for the Arts did a survey on reading and found that 23% of American adults read one to five books a year, 10% read six to eleven, 13% read twelve to forty-nine, and only 5% qualified as "avid" - reading fifty plus books a year. I think that is a very high bar to qualify as an avid reader! While some page turners are a very quick read many non-fiction, "literature" books and thick historical novels would take most readers over a week to read. My own definition of avid reader is someone who manages to read every day.
It was disappointing to discover that those statistics mean that 49% of our population hasn't read a single book in the last year. Many parents recognize the importance of reading to their children's success in school and in life. The Atlantic article mentions a recently published book, How To Raise A Reader, by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo. The authors' suggest that parents be good role models, choosing to enjoy reading a book, instead of watching television or obsessing over their phone. They also suggest that parents talk about books with their children, regularly take them to the library or a bookstore and give books as gifts.
It is so rewarding when customers bring their children in to shop and tell me that their parents brought them to Paperbacks Unlimited when they were children. As parents and grandparents let's do our part to encourage the children in our lives to become avid readers.