With the fall semester fast approaching, expect to see more nervous editorials like this one entitled 'Writing off Reading'. I think the author comes off poorly here by warning us that some of his students (gasp!) like The DaVinci Code! Some readers will mistakenly write him off as a pedant, but the overall problem that he is discussing is mystifying, and more than a bit troubling. He finally asks the golden question on Page 2: "How does one explain the inability of college students to read or write at even a high school level?"
I have no idea. Personally, I love the students who read the DaVinci Code, or Harry Potter, or whatever. But, there's usually only a few of them. What's troubling for me is that at least 80% of them rarely do read, and at least 30% can't understand what they read. The technical term for this is that they're functionally illiterate. And this happens each year. But, for some reason, it's hard to get anyone else around me worried about this. And as some might remember, I've been accused of 'caring too much'. So, I'll let other people write about it.