The National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that reading scores in the nations' schools are not improving
[r]eading achievement... reflects not only the quality of reading instruction in school classrooms, they said, but also factors like whether parents read to children and how much time students read on their own outside school. And many children in the United States are spending less time reading on their own.
Although contemporary commentators deplore the decline of "the reading habit" or "literary reading," historically the era of mass reading, which lasted from the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century in northwestern Europe and North America, was the anomaly. We are now seeing such reading return to its former social base: a self-perpetuating minority that we shall call the reading class.