chapter  1
24 Pages

The Value of a Literate Culture

ByMartha C. Pennington, Robert P. Waxler

According to UNESCO (2006, 2011), the world literacy rate, which in the mid-19th century was around 10 percent, is now approaching 85 percent. In the past century and a half, literacy, in the sense of being able to read, has risen greatly while the level of reading appears to have declined. The cultural effects of media and online connectivity are especially visible in the current generation of children and young adults, who were born into a world already saturated with the pop culture practices and values of television and other mass media. Although digital works such as e-books and many other kinds of works enabled by hypertext and the Internet are on an upward trend, the print book seems to be surviving well into the Digital Age. Print books still dominate the market and are preferred by most readers, including today's college students.