Reading at Risk
The ALSCW was founded, in part, to resist what we perceived to be two unhealthy forces of separation: the increasing detachment of the professionalized study of literature, from the concerns of writers practicing the art, on the one hand, and on the other, from the teaching of literature in school programs for the young. The report on “Reading at Risk” addresses both of these concerns as well as many others, and suggests that we cannot think of literature in only a specialized context. A consideration of reading in a society at large, and the raising of complex questions about the nature of “literature,” inevitably prompt reflection on the character of our schools, of our libraries, of family life as a structure for education and entertainment, of changing technologies for story-telling and enchantment, and of how our culture is generally conceived.
We are grateful to Mark Bauerlein for having shaped this issue of Forum and for having assembled the divergent views here whose expression, we hope, will provoke more debate, and even more importantly, more projects to foster reading.