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As Math Skills Improve, Reading Scores Stagger

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While the country's schoolchildren continue to make major gains in mathematics, they are not making strides in reading. In fact, reading scores have lagged behind math scores for the past 17 years, according to results from the National Assessment of Education Progress, NYTimes.com reported. While federal officials who oversee the test were unable to speculate on what caused the fast improvement on math skills and the lag in reading skills, it seems understandable to look to the digital revolution for answers. "Some experts point to declines in the amount of reading children do for pleasure as they devote more free time to surfing the Internet, texting on cell phones or watching television," says the NYTimes.com. Other education specialists say school curriculums simply do not require enough reading from their children. Let's be real--the lagging reading rate is a sign of what's going on in our society on a whole. I'd venture to say that as adults, we don't do as much reading for pleasure as we did 17 years ago. Also, due to the increased integration of computers and other digital devices into our lives, what we read is quite different from what we would have read as kids. Our news articles have gotten much smaller. The blog posts that we read use much more colloquial-style English, abbreviated words, acronyms and slang--all of which would not have been acceptable mainstream reading material 20 or 30 years ago. In my opinion, as computers take over more and more of our lives, this trend will continue. As a writer, I do lament society's loss of interest in reading. But as a writer for the Web I understand our need for short, snappy easy-to-understand text. It's not so much about the words and more about the information, because our brains need to process all the things coming at them at a faster rate.  Computers use binary code (i.e. mathematics) to process information and execute functions much in the same way. This might explain why math skills have increased, as children gain familiarity with the electronic devices. In other words, we are becoming more like our technology and our brains are evolving. Read More:
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