This is just sad...
We were talking informally in class not long ago, 17 college sophomores and I, and on a whim I asked who some of their favorite writers are. The question hung in uneasy silence. At length, a voice in the rear hesitantly volunteered the name of . . . Dan Brown.
No other names were offered.
The author of "The DaVinci Code" was not just the best writer they could think of; he was the only writer they could think of.
From "Writing Off Reading," by Michael Skube, which ran in the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago. Read it here.
Frankly, I find this a little bit hard to believe, but only a little bit.
Kids don't read. And their writing is atrocious: I've had students -- some of my brightest students -- write things like "u r" instead of "you are," on formal assignments.
I have a bit of a problem with Skube's implication that high school teachers are to blame for this -- "Did no one teach these kids basic English?" -- as if high school teachers can coerce their students into learning. And you can't fail an entire class, even if they deserve it.