By Rebecca Wallace-Segall
(Photos: Jeff Segall)
The National Endowment for the Arts reported today a downward trend in fiction, poetry, and drama consumption by Americans--with the youngest group, ages 18-25, hit the hardest.
According to the study, the ubiquity of electronic media has made the difference. Certainly obsessive IMing and Facebook surfing takes us away from our books, but, as educators, we actually have control over the more perilous culprit: the fact that most school administrators don't do much to reinforce the notion that literature should take center stage at school.
Here's a way your school can help young people realize the pleasure and value of reading: fund a creative writing program that can support qualified creative writing teachers; celebrate your young creative writers as proudly as you celebrate athletes, actors, and general academics; plan readings during the school year held within the school's auditorium that place writers on stage under the spotlight.
Schools can play an active role undoing the marginalization of literature and literates in their schools. But will they?
The photos posted (above) were taken at Barnes & Noble during the Q & A session after each tween or teen writer read their own original short story, poem, or memoir, or helped read a play written by a workshop participant.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/19/arts/19nea.html