The National Endowment for the Arts has just published a survey called "Reading at Risk" (PDF file). The New York Times report on the survey says this: "Among its findings are that fewer than half of Americans over 18 now read novels, short stories, plays or poetry; that the consumer pool for books of all kinds has diminished; and that the pace at which the nation is losing readers, especially young readers, is quickening. In addition it finds that the downward trend holds in virtually all demographic areas." The Chairman of the NEA says: "What this study does is give us accurate numbers that support our worst fears about American reading. It quantifies what people have been observing anecdotally, but the news is that it has been happening more rapidly and more pervasively than anyone thought possible. Reading is in decline among all groups, in every region, at every educational level and within every ethnic group," he said, calling the survey results "deeply alarming." Those of us who teach for a living will not be shocked by this study, Im sorry to say.