March is designated as National Reading Month. The month of March was selected in honor of the March 2nd birthday of one of the most popular children's writers in American history: Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known by his pen name," Dr. Seuss."
March is set aside to motivate people of all ages to read every day. But here’s something really interesting, Americans need a lot of motivation since statistics show that fewer people are reading books in any format:
• 27 percent of respondents in a Pew Research Center survey said they had not read a book in whole or in part in the past year. The survey was conducted Jan. 8, 2019, to Feb. 7, 2019.
• From 2003 to 2018, the average amount of time Americans spent reading was less than 16 minutes per day, according to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
• A National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) survey found that 53 percent of American adults read at least one book for pleasure in the past 12 months, the lowest level since the survey began in 1982.
If reading is on the decline, then what are adults doing in their leisure time?
Most of the surveys found that reading has been replaced by watching television or computer screen. The NEA survey, for instance, found that in 2018, Americans spent an average of 2 hours and 50 minutes every day watching television, and 28 minutes playing games and using computers.
Positive Results from Reading
While there are more activities that compete for an adult’s time, literacy organizations and reading advocates continue to encourage adults to pick up one, two or more books (or e-books) throughout the year.
Why is that? Because reading has many benefits. An article in Inc. magazine, science backs up the notion that reading is beneficial for adults. According to the article:
• A study from the University of Toledo found that participants who read short-story fiction were tested as more “open-minded” and creative than participants who read nonfiction essays.
• A study by Yale University researchers who studied 3,635 people who were 50 years old and over found that study participants who read a book for 30 minutes each day lived an average of 23 months longer than nonreaders or people who read magazines.
• Highly successful people, including business owners, investors, and authors, read books to foster self-improvement and creativity.
It goes without saying that reading books can contribute to your personal growth.
NEA Gets Kids Into Reading
As a way to encourage kids to read, the National Education Association (NEA) kicked off its annual “Read Across America” program on March 1st. To reflect a more diverse student population in all grade levels, the NEA rebranded its popular reading program this year.
According to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, “Celebrate a Nation of Diverse Readers” will focus on diverse books "in which students can see themselves, as well as books that allow readers to see a world or a character that might be different than them."
MANA Supports Readers and Helps Authors
Literacy advocates say that people are more likely to read books with topics that interest them. At MarketingNewAuthors.com (MANA), for instance, we make it a point to help authors with different interests self-publish their books for the general public to enjoy.
If you haven’t read a book in a while, why not join the celebration this month? Find a quiet time and place, press the pause button on your television or computer, pick up a book, and go for it!
Do you want suggestions for books to read? MANA can help. Visit our website at marketingnewauthors.com to see the variety of books available.
Have you thought about writing and self-publishing your own book? MANA can help with that, too. Go to our website to see the available plans or contact us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.